How Can a Family Lawyer Help You Travel Outside Canada With Your Children?

Family Lawyer

When you travel to another country, you never know what you will be asked. You may be asked for proof you can travel with your child by officials in Canada or the other country you are going to. Depending on these officials’ decisions, you may not be allowed to enter the country.

A travel consent letter signed by the other parent is the best way to prevent delays or being refused entry or exit at the border.

It may be required of you to show that you have parental permission to travel with your child even if you have all the decision-making responsibilities. In the past, parenting time and decision-making responsibilities were known as custody and access.

When travelling with your child, you can only do it if you have a parenting plan, separation agreement, or court order saying you don’t need permission from your partner. To prove that you don’t need permission, carry a copy of the contract or court order on you.

Please review your agreement or court order to determine whether you need the other parent’s permission before you travel and whether you need to provide them with information about your travel plans, such as your flight information and emergency contact information.

You may have to go to court to get permission to travel with your child if your partner is unwilling to allow you to do so. All of this could become too overwhelming for you, which is why you should hire a professional family lawyer who can help you through all these steps. 

Share Your Travel Plans With Your Partner

Tell your partner about your plans for your child if they have decision-making responsibility or parenting time rights well in advance of your trip to ensure that they agree with the methods. Previously, these terms were known as custody and access.

If your partner wants you to change your travel plans before they permit you, you have enough time to adjust your plans.

If necessary, you can also change your partner’s parenting schedule. You might want to consider giving them more time with your child later.

Tell your partner everything about your trip, such as:

  • The reason you are travelling
  • Your destination
  • Your departure and return dates
  • Whether you are travelling by plane, car, or bus.
  • The people who will go on the trip
  • Accommodations
  • Contact information in case of emergency
  • While you’re away, how to keep your partner connected to your child
  • Making up missed parenting time

Make sure there are no special rules for travelling with your child in your parenting plan, separation agreement, or court order. If you plan to travel this summer, you might have to give written notice to your partner a few days in advance.

Ask Your Partner For a Travel Consent Letter

If you’re travelling with your child, it’s a good idea to get your partner’s consent in advance.

The law in Canada does not require a travel consent letter for parents travelling with children. You may have to provide one when entering or leaving a foreign country or when reentering Canada after leaving a foreign country. It may be challenging to enter or leave a country if you do not have a letter.

It is also crucial that all children travelling with one parent, another family member, friends, or a group are provided with a travel consent letter. Its website has a sample travel consent letter that you can use for guidance.

Letters do not have to follow any rules. They should, however, be detailed. For example:

  • The full name of your child
  • Passport number of your child
  • Date of birth of your child
  • When you will be travelling
  • Where do you plan to go
  • Information about your travel contacts
  • Full name
  • Passport number
  • The child’s relationship with you
  • Name of your partner
  • Information about your partner

Ideally, this letter should be signed before a notary public, but it’s not mandatory. A notary public verifies whether or not a signature appears on a document.

Ensure You Have All Your Documents Handy

Check your and your child’s passports to ensure they don’t expire. Passport Canada’s website includes an application form and instructions for applying for a passport for a child under 16 years old.

A child under 16 years of age can only be issued a passport by a parent with custody. Both parents usually have to sign the application. Bring copies of any court orders or agreements you have:

  • Responsibility for decisions, formerly known as custody
  • Parenting time, formerly known as access
  • Moving with the child is mobility
  • Court order for divorce

These documents may not be required at the border. However, you should be prepared to provide them if asked.

Notaries public are best for certifying copies of your documents, but it is not required. Attestation by a notary public verifies that a copy is a true copy of the original document.

Find Out What Documents You Must Carry With You

Learn what documents you’ll need in the country or countries you’re visiting. Each country has its requirements. Children with Costa Rican and Canadian citizenship, for instance, must meet the following criteria to leave Costa Rica:

  • One or both parents must sign the travel consent letter in Spanish
  • Costa Rican authorities issue a special permit

Children whose parents are citizens of certain foreign countries are automatically considered citizens of those countries if they are born in Canada. Children born in such a country are regarded as citizens of that country and may follow the same rules as other citizens to enter and leave.

The Government of Canada website tells you what each country asks for. Travel advisories for each country are available under “Entry/Exit Requirements.” If there are any other requirements or documents you need, you should check with the embassy or consulate of the country in Canada. You should bring all the necessary documentation with you. Ensure you have extra copies so that you won’t lose them or need to hand them over to border officials.

Get A Professional Lawyer If Your Partner Disagrees

You should check your separation agreement or court order if your partner doesn’t permit you to travel with your child. It may be stating what you should do if there is something you can’t agree on. To work out your issues, it might recommend mediation or parenting coordination before going to court.

To resolve your family law issues out of court, you should consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or a family dispute resolution process. However, ADR may not be suitable for you if:

  • There is a history of family violence between two people, so one is afraid of the other
  • Mental illness or drug abuse are serious problems

A court case can be a long and complicated process. Sometimes it’s necessary to decide your issues, even if it is stressful and costly.

Family law professionals in Mississauga

It might be possible to resolve your issues outside of court with the help of a family law professional. By using an ADR process, they assist you in coming to an agreement or making a decision for you. Your decision depends on the details of your situation and what you want. A mediator, for example, does not decide on your behalf, but an arbitrator does.

Go to court

A judge will ask you the following questions if you need permission to travel with your child:

  • The reason you are travelling
  • Your destination
  • Your departure and return dates
  • The mode of transportation you will use – plane, car, bus, etc.
  • On this trip, who will be there?
  • Accommodations
  • Contact information for emergencies
  • When you are away from home, your partner can communicate with your child
  • Making up missed parenting time if necessary
  • Your child’s return flight ticket back to Ontario


If you wish to travel with your child, you could consult a lawyer who can explain what the law says you should do. Finding a professional family lawyer in Mississauga and Canada can make it possible for you to travel with your children without any hassle. For more information, contact us, and we will gladly help you out.

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Written by: the Divorce Fast Team

Our team of Ontario lawyers has over 15 years of experience handling divorce and other family law matters.

All of our lawyers are in good standing with the Law Society of Ontario, and have the knowledge and experience to help and guide you through your family law issues. Whether your matter pertains to divorce, separation, custody/access, or support claims, we are the firm for you.

Contact Divorce Fast for a Free Consultation.

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