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The importance of a child travel consent letter

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Family Law

If you’re planning to travel with your child this summer for the first time since your separation or divorce (especially if you’re going outside of Michigan), you need any permission from your co-parent that’s required if you’re sharing custody. Ensure that you have that before you make any non-refundable reservations or get your child too excited about a trip.

If your divorce is final, your custody order probably details how far each parent can travel with your child without the other parent’s permission. If your divorce isn’t final and you don’t have an official custody order, it’s still important to ensure that your co-parent knows about your plans.

Why it’s good for parents to know each other’s travel plans with their child

It’s typically best when parents keep each other informed when they’re going to be traveling anywhere with their child, even if it’s not required. It helps you both remain part of your child’s life and share in their adventures when they return, and it gives you peace of mind while their away. Further, no child should be asked to keep secrets from either parent.

Whether you legally need your co-parent’s consent for travel or not, it’s wise to draw up a child travel consent letter for both of you to sign. These typically include details like:

  • Where you’ll be traveling and how (car, air, etc.)
  • Where you’ll be staying (hotels, relatives’ homes, campgrounds and so forth)
  • What dates you’ll be away
  • Who else, if anyone, will be with you
  • Emergency contact numbers/names (besides your cellphone)
  • How often your child will communicate with their co-parent and how

If you’re traveling to more than one place, providing an itinerary of where you’ll be on each day is a good idea.

Have documentation ready to provide if asked

It’s often recommended that parents have these letters witnessed and notarized. Even if you can’t imagine your co-parent claiming it’s fraudulent, it’s good to make it official since you’ll want to bring a copy of the letter with you.

You should also bring documentation of your and your child’s relationship and your right to have them. Law enforcement officers can be suspicious of an adult traveling alone with a child – particularly if they’re of different races or have different last names.

If you have questions or concerns about traveling with your child this summer, it’s best to get legal guidance as soon as possible. This can help things go more smoothly for everyone.