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Consent to travel letters serve multiple purposes

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Child Custody

Traveling with your child can be more complicated after separation and divorce. Typically, parents who are going to share custody of their children stipulate in their custody agreement how far they can take them without getting the other parent’s written consent. This is generally a specific number of miles or outside the state. It may depend on the length of travel.

Even if you’re planning a trip during your parenting time that doesn’t require your co-parent’s written consent, it’s often wise to prepare and get your co-parent’s signature on a “consent to travel” letter. 

If you’re just taking your child to Virginia Beach for the weekend during your scheduled time with them and you have a good relationship with your co-parent, your text messages or emails back and forth may serve the purpose of keeping them in the loop and having documentation should there be any confusion. If you’re doing more extensive traveling, however, whether it requires consent or not, it’s important to have this consent to travel letter.

What information should you include?

A consent to travel letter should typically include basic information like:

  • The location(s) to which you’ll be traveling (including flight and train information if applicable)
  • Where you’ll be staying (hotels, vacation rentals, family/friends’ homes)
  • Contact information besides your cellphone 
  • How/when your child will communicate with their co-parent

It’s best to have the letter witnessed and/or notarized and to bring a copy with you. If you’re flying, you may need to prove that you have a right to have your child with you to TSA and/or airline personnel. They’re trained to watch for child traffickers. A single adult traveling with a child can raise concern. 

This is particularly true if they’re of different races or ethnicities or have different last names. Even a police officer who might pull you over for speeding could ask to see documentation of your relationship. It’s a good idea to bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate and your custody order as well.

If you have questions or concerns about preparing a consent to travel letter ahead of any summer travels with your child, having legal guidance can help.