There are many parenting challenges faced by divorced parents. Even things as fun as summer vacations can take on extra complications when the unique challenges of raising a family after separation are taken into account. Here are some helpful things to consider when planning summer vacations.


Summertime brings interruptions to a child’s regular schedule and can throw carefully arranged parenting plans that had worked for eight months out the window. If you share custody with another parent, it would be wise to discuss vacation schedules and plans well before school is out. Parents may want to consider the commitments and plans of one another before planning a vacation with or without a child they share custody of. Try to share your plans with the other parent as soon as possible. By sharing the details of the vacation you plan to take (including flight details and contact information) you can provide the other parent with a sense of security in knowing they have important information if needed.

Communicating is vital, especially if travel plans provide one parent with more time than they are permitted under a custody agreement.

Planning for vacation

There are a number of things to consider if you are travelling outside of Canada with a minor child without the child’s other parent. We strongly recommend obtaining a travel consent form signed by the other parent giving you authorization to leave the country with the child. While there is no legal requirement to obtain such a form, the government of Canada strongly recommends it as it may be requested by the immigration authorities of other countries. Failing to produce a consent letter may lead to a delay or refusal to enter or exit a country.

You should also be careful to pack the following documents when traveling with minor children.:

  • A copy of the child’s birth certificate
  • A photocopy of the non-accompanying parent’s passport (or other government identification).

The government recommends obtaining a consent letter even if travelling parent has full/sole custody of a child but another parent has visitation rights.

While on vacation

A summer vacation with your child might mean they are away from the other parent for a longer period of time than they are accustomed to. Try to be sensitive to that and arrange contact between your child and their other parent. Phone calls, texts as well as technology like Facetime or Skype make doing so easier than ever before.

What if the other parent will not consent?

There may be situations where one parent refuses to sign a consent form. If this does occur, the travelling parent can go to court to seek an order for permission to travel. However, the courts do not move quickly, so it’s important to find out where all parties stand in travel well ahead of time.

Divorces and separations are difficult without children. Adding children to the situation introduces emotional and financial difficulties that can add to a great deal of stress. The experienced and compassionate team of family lawyers at Borden Family Law are ready to help our clients deal with the questions and issues that come up when arranging matters involving children as well as all other areas of divorce and separation. Please reach us online or by phone at 905-576-6090 to discuss how we may be able to help you today.