In today’s mobile society, travel and relocation can happen very frequently due to a career change, personal issues or change in relationship status. Moving with children after a divorce or a separation can be complicated.
As per Family Law, a child cannot move without the consent of the other parent or a court order to this effect.
Child mobility and travel can be a reason for litigation if not handled well. The court is guided by the child’s best interests only and not the parent’s rights and interests.
The factors considered by the court in making decisions include:
- Current custody arrangements and the relationship of the child with the custodial parent
- Current access arrangements and the relationship of the child with the access parent
- Child’s views and preferences
- Parents views on increasing contact with the child
- Change in custody and its impact on the child
- The number of years the child was cohabiting with the parents and they were living together
- Parenting time – it’s quantity and quality of each of the parents
- Child’s age, special needs and maturity
- Each parent’s financial resources
- Each custodial units’ performance and permanence
- Cultural and religious heritage continuance for the child
What is a consent letter? Why is it needed?
When the child is travelling with one of the parents, a consent letter demonstrates the permission of the other parent for the travel. The consent letter signifies to the appropriate authorities that the child has the necessary consent from both the parents for the travel. Such consent letter should be notarized by the consenting parent.
When a child is leaving or entering Canada, a consent letter may be requested though it’s not legally required to be carried during travel. Entry or exit into Canada can be denied if this letter is not produced on demand.
If one parent has a sole custody order, is the other parent’s consent required ?
Having sole custody of the child does not entitle the custodial parent to travel with the child without the travel consent letter. A consent letter is needed for any mobility, travel or renewing any travel documentation from the access parent.
If the sole custody exists with one parent and the other does not have access rights, the court order for the custody arrangement needs to be carried for the travel. The consent letter is not required in this situation.
If travel consent is not signed by one parent, can the child travel?
Travel situations can become complicated if one parent refuses to give consent for travel. Besides affecting the travel, such a situation can increase the antagonism and turmoil between the parents.
The concern of the parent not giving the consent needs to be clearly understood and suitably resolved. If the reason for not giving consent is spiteful or not justified, the parent planning the travel has many options to resolve the situation.
Mediation is an option if the parents are ready to communicate with each other.
If parents are not communicating or cooperating with each other, litigation may be the only other option. In this case, a new parenting schedule will also need to be formulated with the revised living circumstances of both the parents.
If one parent does not provide consent for traveling, the other parent is at liberty to apply for a court order granting the permission to travel. The court can also specifically mention that consent for travelling or passport is not required. A custodian or non-custodian parent can apply to court for requesting this order.
How can I get a passport for my child without the other parent’s signature?
After a separation or divorce, the custodial parent will require the other parent’s signature to apply for the child’s new travel documents or renewing them.
Getting this can be a challenge if the other parent is not communicative or involved in the child’s lives or lives in another country. A court order will have to be obtained to deal with the travel documentation, and the custodial parent will need to make an application for it.
A motion to change the court order will be needed if the existing one does not elaborate on the child’s travel arrangements.
How We Can Help
At Nanda & Associate Lawyers, our excellent lawyers help in ensuring mobility, travel issues of your child are appropriately resolved to safeguard the best interests of the child. They understand your specific circumstances and provide tailored and customized solutions for each of them. Many legal complexities exist in drafting parenting schedules, and an experienced family law lawyer can help you to navigate better.
Our Mississauga Lawyers are available for a consultation. Come and experience our quality legal counsel and personalized care we give to each client.