People frequently ask whether there are different rules for divorced or separated parents when it comes to taking their children out of the country. Generally the answer is no. Unless a court order specifically says you cannot take the child from the country, the rules are the same. In a nutshell, whenever you as a parent take a child into or out of Canada, you must always be prepared to show proof that you have the other parent’s permission, or that such permission is not necessary.
Proper Identification is Also Necessary
It may seem obvious, but do not forget to carry the proper identification for yourself and any children traveling with you. Proper identification includes, but is not limited to, a valid passport for the child when travelling outside Canada. In addition to passports, proper identification could include, but is not limited to, birth certificates, citizenship cards, landed immigrant records and certificates of Indian status.
In addition to proper identification, you will need:
- A court order specifically permitting you to travel outside of the country with the children;
- A court order granting you sole custody or guardianship. But beware, even if you do have sole custody and guardianship, it might not be enough if the non-custodial parent has legal access or visiting rights to the child;
- A statutory declaration signed by the other parent allowing you to travel outside of the country with the children. The statutory declaration should be specific to each trip and should include contact information for the other parent;
- A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate if you are the only parent listed on the child’s birth certificate or passport
- A certified copy of the death certificate if the other parent has died.
Remember that customs officers, as well as other authorities, both inside and outside Canada are looking for missing children and may ask questions. It is vital to carry the proper documentation with you whenever you travel outside of Canada with your children. For more information or for advice on your specific situation, contact one of the experienced legal professionals at Velletta & Company. We are here to help.