To help combat instances of child abduction by a non-custodial parent, many countries require adults traveling alone with minor children to provide not only valid passports for each member of the party, but also present notarized proof of consent from the child’s biological parents or legal guardians. This permission is not required for domestic travel.
It does not matter if you are divorced or married, you may be required to present written permission indicating the child’s other parent or guardian is fully aware that you have taken the child out of the country. While you may be able to leave the United States without showing this documentation, some countries, such as Canada, won’t let you out of the arriving airport without it.
While not every country requires this proof, many require some type of proof of consent, including the following popular vacation destinations: Our neighbor to the north, Canada; our neighbor to south, Mexico; and the archipelago just off the coast of Florida popular for cruises, the Bahamas.
The rules can differ significantly from country to country, and your family law attorney will be able assist you in determining what documentation will be required. Canada stringently requires parental consent notarization. Mexico’s application is a bit more variable. Simply put, it’s not worth the headache and risk of having your vacation travel spoiled without it. Countless hunting and fishing trips or beach excursions have been ruined for the lack of one piece of signed, notarized paper.
Your attorney will also be able to help prepare a valid consent form consistent with the laws of your specific destination.