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There are a number of situations that can prove to be more difficult for divorced or separated parents that may not be obvious to the parties involved until it’s too late for proper planning.  One such example is vacation planning. With March Break around the corner, we thought it would be a good time to take a moment to discuss some important points of consideration when it comes to vacation planning.

Getting everything in order

There are a few important steps to take if you plan on traveling outside of the country during March Break. While it may not be required, it is highly recommended that the traveling parent obtain a travel consent form from the child’s other parent. This document provides the traveling parent with authorization to leave Canada with the child. This document is not mandatory for leaving Canada, it may be requested by officials of the country you are visiting. As such, the government of Canada highly recommends securing one before leaving. A travel consent form is recommended even for parents who have full custody of their children.

Other important documents to consider bringing along include a copy of the child’s birth certificate as well as a photocopy of the non-traveling parent’s passport (or government-issued ID).

Communicate with the other parent

A March Break vacation promises an exciting break in routine for children and adults alike. But it’s important to be mindful of the interruption that such a break brings to any parenting plans that may already exist, including visitation schedules. We recommend discussing any vacation plans with the other parent so that existing commitments or other concerns can be addressed before it becomes a problem. We recommend sharing your plans as early as possible. In addition to discussing where and when you plan on going, share your travel details with the other parent. This includes information like flight details, contact numbers, hotels, etc. As with almost every situation for divorced or separated parents, proper communication is vital to keep everyone on the same page.

Think of the other parent while away

You may be having fun on the beach or ski hill during March Break, but it would serve you well to consider what the other parent is doing during this time. If they normally have custody of the child during the week or on holidays, they may be missing the child (and the child may be missing the other parent). We suggest traveling parents to be sensitive to this and be proactive by scheduling time to talk or text (or even better, call with technology that allows the other parent and your child to see one another, such as FaceTime or Skype). Additionally, you may want to allow your child to pick a souvenir or post card from their trip. You may also consider sending the other parent photos of your child while away.

You may run into a situation where one parent reuses to sign a consent form. If this happens, you can ask the court for an order for permission to travel. Be aware that the courts may not be able to act quickly on such a request, underscoring the importance of communicating with the other parent as soon as possible.

Child custody and access issues can add significant complications to divorce and separation. At Gelman & Associates we strive to provide our clients with the information and resources necessary to make informed decisions about all family law matters. Please call us at 1-844-769-0737 or reach us online if you have a custody and access issue or any other type of family law matter you need assistance with.