View Full Version : Custodial Parents

09-08-2007, 10:24 AM
We are going on a cruise with our friend, a single mom who shares custoday with her ex-husband.

My DH was thinking our friend needs to have her ex-husband sign a form consenting to DD12 leaving the country. Does anyone know the rules on that? I was thinking the form was required if a non-custodial parent was taking the child out of the country.


09-08-2007, 10:30 AM
You need it no matter what. There is nothing to keep a custodial parent from taking the child out of the country to deny the non-custodial parent from seeing the child. There are reports from DCL and other lines that the form is never checked, but is always good to have whenever you leave the country in situations like these.

09-08-2007, 10:40 AM
DH and I have custody of my nephew. My brother died a year ago, and the ex SIL was deemed unfit with supervised visits, so that is how we have custody. We cruised in July and informed Disney of the situation, we were told to bring the court order. Never once were we asked to show it and had no problem with nephew going. He solely traveled on his birth certificate - he is 11.

I knew if ex SIL had to sign a consent paper she wouldn't just out of spite.

09-08-2007, 11:45 AM
So, even though the share custody, the form needs to be signed by the Dad? Just making sure I understand. I will definitely pass this along to her.

09-08-2007, 12:01 PM
I would call/email DCL and ask them directly to get the right answer.

09-08-2007, 12:18 PM
this is one of those consult with your lawyer things, but..

i imagine DCL doesn't necessarily care. HOWEVER, for legal purposes, the parent leaving the country with the child can get in a LOT of trouble, including risking having any custody at all, if the other parent makes a stink of it. so it's a CYA type thing to get the letter of consent.

09-08-2007, 12:56 PM
I havent cruised DCL yet, but have cruised other cruiselines.. I have joint custody on my children with my ex and I did have to get him to sign a paper and it had to be notarized.. Basically we just typed up a letter basically saying.. I _______ (put my ex's name) give permission for ______ (inserted my name) to take ________ (list childrens names) to ______ (list ports) for the duration of _____ (put the dates of the cruises)..

then he signed it and I signed it where we got it notarized..

I dont remember it ever being checked but honestly its worth it to not have to worry about getting there and that one time they check it and then if you dont have it and not being able to board.. Its just worth the piece of mind..

09-08-2007, 01:03 PM
Unless you have passports, the rules say you need permission of the other parent even if married. Now if DCL checks it or not (Oh well); it is a customs thing. My girlfriend is married and needs her husbands notarized permission to take the kids to Mexico each time she makes her many trips without him. This is the reason both parents must sign for passports. It is not DCL you are worried about, it is customs..... What if you are the lucky #12 that gets selected for customs? My answer is, just go and get a passport (which everyone is going to need anyway sooner or later) and all of your worries are taken care of. You then do not have to ask his permission any more to take your child where ever when ever YOU want. The passport thing is confusing to me. I do not understand why people just do not make the investment. Once you cruise, you are addicted and you will take another one. By the time of your second cruise, passports will be needed. Just get them before the price goes up. The only reason the date has been exstended now is because the goverment screwed up and could not keep up with supply and demand. Soon, that will change. The turn around process is getting a lot faster. Just think about it.:hippie:

09-08-2007, 01:43 PM
I got the ok from my ex in writting (the form) just in case so he could not say I did not inform him. I did not ask permission either.
There is a form on the US Pass Ports site to have him sign. I said we (new DH and I) are taking the girls on a Disney Cruise and I may need proof I told you and it is ok with you. Of course he said great, signed the form and have a good time... otherwise he would be the cause of disappointment for the girls.
DCL did not care.
For our other 2 daughters (13 and 15 at the time) we did not get permission just email and ok from their mother. We have custody of them to and our last names are all the same so no one would know if we did not say I was their StepM. No problems there either.
We had to present Pass Ports and Birth Certifs. to US customs in St. Thomas or St. Martin to leave the ship (everyone did) and they did not ask to see anything regarding permission to leave the US with them about my 2 girls whose last name is different from mine now.
Tell your friend... ALWAYS cover your bum! Get it in writting.

09-08-2007, 01:45 PM
I don't know that just having a passport would suffice to indicate both parents agree that one will take the child on this specific trip. So that's something to check into. But the U.S. Customs site says:

Adults traveling in or out of the U.S. with children under the age of 18 should be aware of the following: because of increasing incidents of child abductions in disputed custody cases and as possible victims of child pornography, Customs and Border Protection strongly recommends that unless the child is accompanied by both parents, the adult have a note from the child's other parent (or, in the case of a child traveling with grandparents, uncles or aunts, sisters or brothers, or friends, a note signed by both parents) stating "I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter. He/She/They has my permission to do so."

CBP also suggests that this note be notarized. While CBP may not ask to see this documentation, if we do ask, and you do not have it, you may be detained until the circumstances of the child traveling without both parents can be fully assessed.

If there is no second parent with legal claims to the child (deceased, sole custody, etc.) any other relevant paperwork, such as a court decision, birth certificate naming only one parent, death certificate, etc., would be useful.

Adults traveling with children should also be aware that, while the U.S. does not require this documentation, many other countries do, and failure to produce notarized permission letters and/or birth certificates could result in travelers being refused entry. (Canada has very strict requirements in this regard.)

09-08-2007, 01:53 PM
a lot of that is just moot too though because isn't it theoretically possible one parent in a 2 parent home takes one child on vacation? do they grill every single parent?

as far as the passport goes, it is somewhat covered because (1) both parents have to consent to a child under 14 to get a passport and (2) the state department has a program in place where individual parents can be notified in the case of passport application for any child up to age 18. a parent can also petition the court to revoke the passport of a child if kidnapping is considered a possibility.

but even the passport issue is moot assuming this cruise is taking place in the bahamas (or mexico) by the end of this year.

09-08-2007, 02:15 PM
Please please please ..... let's never lose sight of the fact that the sole purpose of all of this is to protect innocent children. Parental abductions are unfortunately a part of our world's reality.

And how horrible would it be to decide that getting the proper paperwork was too much of a hassle -- and then be turned away from the ship because you didn't have it. :sad1:

09-08-2007, 03:15 PM
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE understand that you will never be interviewed by ANY immigration agent. The countries you visit have an official who boards the ship, views the passenger list and any passports from non-US citizens and clears the ship. Even when returning to PC, the only official you will see is from CUSTOMS (concerning items brought into the US). Immigration is done before anyone disembarks.

DISers who AREN"T in involved with confusing custodial messes don't understand that not every non-custodial parent can be located, reached or willing to sign anything. For some adults, children are pawns and used to make the other parent miserable.

I wouldn't want the OP or any other poster to avoid a cruise because permission is REQUIRED. IT ISN'T
It might be very very helpful to have in the case of an emergency. It is not like a birthcertificate which IS a required document. Trust me if immigration required it (in any of the countries visited either), Disney would require it too.

I have an uncooperative ex and finally made the decision to travel without signed papers. For me it was the right decision


It is a personal decision NOT an absolute requirement.

09-08-2007, 03:18 PM
And how horrible would it be to decide that getting the proper paperwork was too much of a hassle -- and then be turned away from the ship because you didn't have it. :sad1:

This WOULD NOT happen

There are a thousand of other terrible scenarios - for example a vindictive ex could call immigration and claim the child was being abducted but you cannot be denied boarding without written permission of a non-custodial parent

By the way, traveling with children who are not your own is a different situation


09-08-2007, 03:24 PM
All I can say is other members here tell a different tale :)

def. better safe than sorry. my story of caution is the time we were boarding a disney cruise ship and overheard a passenger and her children denied boarding for lack of having this type of document in hand:guilty:

And even if you weren't refused but merely delayed, I doubt the ship would wait for you.............:confused3

09-08-2007, 06:51 PM
It is absolutely the legal requirement! (says lawyer)

Despite the fact that perhaps cruise ship "border crosssing" and immigration may be somewhat lax tothe individual.

despite having uncooperative ex's. And in the case of uncooperative ex's-one can go back to court to get the court to authorise it.

yes, a lot of red tape, but I know of several people at airports turned away from international flights on the beginning of much anticipated vacations b/c of lack of...