No matter when your child’s spring break is this year, it’s not too early to get your plans solidified with your co-parent – especially if you’ll be traveling with your child. Whether you’re taking a road trip or flying to your destination, it’s wise to have a consent to travel letter signed by your ex.
Even if your spring break travel doesn’t require permission from your co-parent, it’s always a good idea for parents to use these letters. This can prevent any kind of misunderstandings and give the parent who’s not with the child peace of mind.
The letter can help you with authorities
It’s also a worthwhile document to have if you’re traveling via air. Security personnel and airline employees are trained to look for signs of child trafficking. An adult traveling alone with a child (particularly if the adult is a man) can raise suspicions. When the adult and child are of different races or ethnicities or the child is mixed race, there’s even more likelihood of being detained and questioned. Bringing your consent to travel letter along with plenty of documentation like copies of your child’s birth certificate, your child custody order and your divorce decree can provide added evidence should you need it.
Even if you’re traveling by car, it’s smart to have this documentation with you. If a police officer pulls you over for speeding, they could potentially ask for evidence of your relationship with your child. While this may seem invasive and uncalled for, most authorities are simply trying to ensure that your child is safe. Having this documentation handy can save you (and more importantly your child) from even more scrutiny.
What should be included in the letter?
What information you include in your consent to travel letter is up to you and your co-parent. At minimum, you should include:
- Where you’ll be traveling and on what dates
- Flight, rail or other commercial travel information (like airline name, flight numbers and airports)
- Where you’re staying (hotel, vacation rental, friend or relative’s home, campground, etc.)
- When and how the co-parent and child will communicate
While there are plenty of templates for these letters online, it’s best to prepare it with legal guidance and get it witnessed and notarized so there’s no question of its validity.