View Full Version : Notarized form from Ex

01-03-2003, 05:52 PM
Is it really necessary to obtain this for taking child out of the country? I have full custody if that matters. Has anyone ever had to show this at port? If I didn't have it, would we be allowed to board? I can get it, but if he thinks I "have to" have it, he'll make me sweat it out till the last minute:rolleyes:

01-03-2003, 05:57 PM
Last year when I went for passports for me and my 2 kids, they would not let me get them without a letter from my husband. They explained that w/o the letter I could be taking them out of the country w/o his permission. I was able to apply for mine but not theirs. I wrote the letter and later that day he went for the passports and he was fine.
Don't know if this answere your question. In our case, we did need the letter.

01-03-2003, 06:32 PM
Yes, it is required to get passports now. That's why DS and I won't ever be getting passports, because it's SO not worth the hassle of trying to get my ex to "do me a favor" like that. For the cruise, no, you do not need the letter, especially if you have full custody. All I travel with, cruise or otherwise, is both our certified birth certificate copies, and a certified copy of the part of the divorce decree. The parts that DCL advised me to have copied, just in case, were the front page showing all the specific court and date info, the pages that dealt with custody, and the back page showing judge and other official info. It cost me a few bucks, they don't charge extra to certify and stamp them so, and the ex didn't even have to get involved.

They didn't ask me for anything last cruise except for the birth certificates. I do know someone who traveled to Canada for a visit and was almost denied entry because she didn't have a letter from her spouse -- but when I called whatever government office that was that deals with stuff like that (my brain just left me, it seems) they said that Canada is a popular spot for people trying to run off with their non-custodial children. She told me that people don't generally try to do that on a cruise, so the certified copy of the divorce decree would be plenty.

Just my experience, and you need to do whatever is right for your own comfort level. But it'll be a cold day in you-know-where before I beg my ex to sign something so that I can take my child on a cruise or anyway else! But that's just my take on it. ;)


01-03-2003, 07:23 PM
When my husband took our then 4 yr old to St. Petes Beach in September of 2001, it was recommended that we both sign a "travel letter", and have it signed by a lawyer, stating our Canadian citizenship, our full names including that of our child , and stating our permission to cross borders. My DH was actually asked for this document at the airport along with a copy of our sons birth certificate, which he also had. If he did not have it, they would not have been allowed them to board the flight to Tampa due to new laws in regard to parental kidnapping, etc.

Because of this, I did obtain a letter from my ex, with regard to my two older children with the belief that we would be flying to Orlando last January 2002 (we ended up cancelling the flight and driving because of my fear after 9/11). Although our plans changed, I will not attempt to cross the border without this letter, just in case. We have never needed it but you never know...and FYI, both being fair and red-headed/blonds, we do not fit into the "stereotype" so crossing at borders with a vehicle seems not to be a problem. However, at any border crossing, in particular at the airport, be prepared to present these documents.

Now....with all of that said, I am wondering what kind of documents will be required for us to take a 4 day Wonder cruise in February 2004. I will definitely be obtaining passports for all of us and the "ex" has already signed for his children. In addition, will the "travel letter" suffice? It states that the children may cross borders into the U.S. but since we will be going to Bahamas, do I need a new letter? Or once I cross into the U.S. with childrens' passports, is the rest irrevlevant?

I'm pretty curious because, like the original poster, my ex really made me sweat about this letter, dangling it in front of my nose like a piece of cheese until I agreed to make a deal with the devil (don't get me started!) Note that we have joint legal custody but I have full physical custody (he lives 400 miles away so the children live with me) I really don't want to go through THAT "negotiation" again!

01-03-2003, 07:24 PM
My family is going on the Magic in February and we are taking my stepson with us. My husband doesn't have custody, but he has visitation for vacations etc.

I really didn't even think about it since he has the same last name as all of us, but if they look at his birth certificate they will see a different name for the mother. Will we need to get that form signed by his mother and notorized that comes in the cruise documents? Does anyone have any info on this, past experience etc.?

I do know that his mother took him to the Bahamas a few years ago, and my husband didn't need to sign anything, and his mom and sister have different last name than him.

Any info would be appreciated.

01-03-2003, 09:52 PM
Ok, how about this question...my friend will be taking her daughter with us on the cruise, the father is dead so do we need to carry around his death certificate??

01-03-2003, 10:41 PM
Is it really necessary to obtain this for taking child out of the country? I have full custody if that matters.

Samsma - Are you trying to get a passport? If so, then the law does require both parent's consent. If your ex does not go with you to the passport office, then you will need an affadavit from him. It does not need to be notarized.

If you are not getting a passport, then I am not sure why you need a notarized form. If you are looking at the form in your docs for minors traveling without their parent or legal guardian, that is only for a child traveling without either parent, such as if you took a friend or a minor relative.

Please let us know specifically why you think you need this, and we'll try to help.

I really didn't even think about it since he has the same last name as all of us, but if they look at his birth certificate they will see a different name for the mother.

My last name is not the same as my husband's or daughter's, and we did not have a minutes trouble. In any case, you will only show your BC once to DCL upon embarkation. From that point forward, all you will need is your KTTW card.

Last, for those of you in sticky divorce situations, there are ways to obtain waivers for the provision requiring the letter for the passport. Check out the State Dept.'s website.

Buckaroo's Dad
01-04-2003, 02:52 AM
Hello all. I am a single parent with sole custody of my DS9. When applying for my son's passport, the postal officer in charge advised me that all I needed to bring with me were the official court papers noting custody.

I don't keep the originals in a glass frame at home, but I do keep a copy with a raised seal in my private papers. On the cruise itself no one even thought to make this an issue. I did, however, pack the copy with the raised seal just in case.

01-04-2003, 04:39 AM
I too am a divorced mom. My TA told me that I would need a letter from my Ex just stating that he is aware that I am taking the kids out of the country. We are not getting passports, only using the birth certificates. Which all our last names are the same. I don't mind this because in the long run should he get a bug up his butt because I can take them on a cruise and he can't, there won't be any legal trouble. You know like I tried to kidnapp them or take them away from him. My one question is how would DCL even know that we are divorced unless I tell them.

01-04-2003, 09:07 AM
McNuss- I'm not trying to get a passport, and don't have my cruise docs yet, just trying to plan. My son will be traveling with me, stepdad, and sister, all having a last name different from his.
It would just be so much easier to take divorce papers, than to give my ex some imagined power over our vacation. Believe me, we've been in that situation before, and I just had to leave and hope for the best. Told his five year old he couldn't go to WDW at last minute, after agreeing to it. (missed his weekend). Years ago, but nothing has really changed.

01-04-2003, 10:39 AM
Samsma - your ex sounds delightful. Congrats on your divorce. :D Yeesh.

If you have FULL LEGAL custody of your child, your ex should not be able to stop you from taking him on vacation or out of the country, and you don't need any kind of "authorization" from him unless your final divorce decree so states. Now if you are causing him to miss his visitation, then that's another negotiation all together, and I wish I had some advice for you, but some people have to make everything difficult and I am sorry you have to go thru that. If you are concerned, you should call your lawyer and ask if you need any kind of papers with you; I doubt it but it cannot hurt to ask. If s/he is a good lawyer (and I sure hope so), s/he would answer a simple question like that gratis. If you want to take your final decree, it couldn't hurt, but you should not need any kind of notarized statement from your ex. Sadly, no one can stop him from saying stupid stuff to your kids or making threats, but legally, in general, he would have no right to stop you from going on vacation any more than he can stop you from taking them to the grocery store. Further, if your DS need medical attention anywhere, not just on the cruise, you obviously have the authority to seek that w/o your ex. Here in the US you would not have to "prove" custody (in fact, who would know if you were divorced or married, as someone else pointed out?!) One parent alone can authorize medical treatment.

If I were you,, though, I would get passports for everyone. I know it is an added expense, but they are good for 10 yrs and nowadays, I would not leave the country w/o one. It is absolute proof of your citizenship and heaven forbid, should you ever require assistance from US Consul, it is very helpful. As for the last name thing, nobody is going to notice or care, frankly. My last name is not the same as DH or DD's and nobody blinked. I showed our passports on embarkation, then they went into the safe until debarkation. If you take DS's BC, they will see your "old" name on it and if necessary you will tell them that you've been remarried since then.

Does this help you at all? I hope so!! Please don't worry too much and have a wonderful cruise. Don't let your ex ruin your fun.


01-04-2003, 12:20 PM
This is an interesting thread, if DW or I needed to take DD out of the country I never would have thought of this.
We used passports on our last cruise and I noticed something. This is completely my subjective opinion but it seemed to me that at the airport checkpoints, boarding the ship etc. you get less hassle using a passport than a drivers license. I had our passports in the pocket of our carry on anyway so it was less hassle than digging out our driver's licenses.

01-04-2003, 12:41 PM

When we went on the Wonder 4 day in October, my TA said that I should get a notorized letter from my DD's dad saying she could go out of the country, I could apply for a passport for her,etc.etc. This was not a problem as he is a lawyer so he just wrote it up himself, had someone in the office notorize it AND we get along FINE. It doesn't sound as though it will be as easy for you.

With all this said and done however, NO ONE ever asked for it. We didn't need it to get on the plane, we didn't need it to board the ship or to debark the ship in Nassau or Freeport.

Our family is just like yours in that my eldest DD has the different last name.

If your family is just doing the 3 or 4 day, I wouldn't bother stressing yourself out.

Good luck in your decision!

01-04-2003, 12:56 PM
I'm just getting hivey I guess. I just don't want to get past the 60 day point after having asked the ex for this, and it be too late to canel. He knows about the trip, but doesn't realize there is a possibility that he has to give his approval. possibility

So much easier to just take the divorce papers, bc, etc. As long as it's okay with Disney. From what I am reading, if I tried to get passports, it would be the same deal.

Gina: You go girl!

01-04-2003, 03:51 PM
My husband's ex has sole custody of their son, with 'reasonable and generaous access' to my husband (BTW, this is the usual arrangement in the province we live in; 'joint custody' is less common in Canada than in the US). Usually the relationship between the two parents is reasonable, but when we were leaving for our cruise last year, a custody issue was simmering. Nevertheless, she had no problem signing a letter (not notarized) acknowleding we were taking the son (then 10) out of the country. Since the son was SO excited about the cruise, I can't imagine any parent denying their child that opportunity. Samsa, you have my sympathies.

Anyway, we never needed the letter, but I felt better having it (especially since we had the added hassle of my maiden name on my airline ticket and my married name on my passport. Carried my marriage license for that).

Since you have sole custody, it should be less of an issue, and your divorce decree will do. But, to make it simpler, you may want to ask him for one, only as a courtesy positioned as just in case. Don't give the impression you 'need it' because your divorce decree will do.

Both parents, however, do need to sign for minor passports (at least in Canada).

Tay N Evie's Mom
01-04-2003, 07:46 PM
When I was 17 my mother took me to Cancun-my father had an unplanned hospitalization and told us to go without him. Even though my parents were married our TA told my mom that she needed a notorized letter stating that my father gave permission for me to be out of the country. They did ask for the letter when we got to Cancun-we didn't have passports either. With all of the heightened security today it might be wise to check with your divorce lawyers to see if any type of letter is needed. Better to be safe than sorry.

Buckaroo's Dad
01-04-2003, 07:52 PM
Samsma - as Mcnuss stated, if you have sole custody then your ex (and any accompanying attitude) is immaterial. You can get a passport for your child, exit/enter the country, EVEN buy a token gift for your child to give to "Dad" upon your return, all without any interference from him.

Too bad he has forgotten the most important aspect in life, 'Best interest of the child(ren)."

Have a truly wonderful cruise.

01-04-2003, 11:30 PM
Just an FYI - you need to check with your particular state if you are getting a passport. I have checked with a website that our state has and it states that either the legal documentation stating custody or a signed release from the non-custodial parent is required. It's always best to call your County Courthouse and check with them to see what you really need before totally sweating about this. Just my 2 cents as I think my husband is a bit more nervous about this than I seem to be - I am the sole custodian from my previous divorce and I do have the original papers that state that. If they don't accept them and say I need the form, then I'll get the form. If I run into problems, then I'll take birth certificates with us instead. Thus the reason to start trying to get them this month for our cruise in July! Gotta plan ahead a bit when there has been a divorce and custody involved. I've been aware of this since about last July.

01-05-2003, 08:30 AM
I have taken DS 10 on two Wonder cruises, one in 8/2000 and the other 8/2002. I have sole legal and physical custody and was never asked for any documentation other than our passports. My son has had a passport since birth, however, and I have never been asked for the ex's permission to renew it; however, I once had my bag stolen in London, and so we had to get new passports at the Embassy. There was a slight delay because they had to check with Washington (state department?) that there were no reports on file with respect to custody. Obviously there weren't and we received the passports the same day.

We have traveled quite a bit to and from Europe, and I recall on one occasion when we were returning to the US through Montreal, my son, age 6 at the time and very literal in his thinking, was asked his name by the official. He responded, and then the official pointed to me and said "and who is this lady?". Rather than give the expected reply "My mom", my son said my full name and then repeated it and repeated his own name and said to the official "get it? It's a match", since we have the same last name. The official persisted, "but who IS she?" and finally my son said, "oh, she's my mom", the desired answer, and we were allowed to move on. This is the closest I have come to having any problem of this nature, although I generally bring a copy of my custody documents when traveling.

Best of luck and enjoy your cruise!

01-05-2003, 05:37 PM
I have DD's name on my passport and carry all legal documents, even the marriage annulment!

I always having everything out and ready for their purusal.


01-05-2003, 07:47 PM
you need to check with your particular state if you are getting a passport. I have checked with a website that our state has and it states that either the legal documentation stating custody or a signed release from the non-custodial parent is required. It's always best to call your County Courthouse and check with them to see what you really need before totally sweating about this.

Passports are issued by the United States Department of State. Neither the state nor the county has anything to do with it, nor any kind of a say. The definintive source for all Passport related questions is http://travel.state.gov/passport_services.html. There are new and special requirements promulgated since 7/1/2001 that you must meet to obtain a passport for a minor under age of 14 here http://travel.state.gov/specialreq.html. Please read them carefully. I recommend printing these pages and taking them with you to your local passport issuing office (here it's my post office) so that if you have any trouble, you can point to the regulations.

With respect to a divorce, it is issued by your state courts (possibly at the county courthouse, but state law applies). Whether or not you have authority to take your child out of the country or anywhere else with or without the "permission" of a non-custodial parent is regulated by the terms of your divorce decree.

01-05-2003, 10:32 PM
Samsma, I feel for you! Unfortunately, I am in the same situation so it feels good to know that I'm not alone! My husband and I are going on our first Disney cruise next month-alone. I know that we could easily obtain his ex's permission for his two girls to come with us if we booked another trip for the whole family but my ex would be another story. We have been divorced for eight years (my son is 8) but he has spent almost all that time either in litigation with me or with his second wife over custody issues. He has a little bit of a control problem! Anyway, I have joint legal and physical custody and I was avoiding taking the kids on a big trip like this because I didn't want him to ruin it for us. I'm glad to see that there are ways around it!! Thanks for all the advice, everyone!:D :D :D

01-06-2003, 07:30 AM
Princess Deb,

Maybe all these unreasonable Ex's could benefit from a trip to Disney World, or a meeting with the Mouse! I know I'm a much nicer person for it!:p I just don't know why any parent would interfere with the making of special memories for their children, no matter how they feel about the other parent/stepparent. I once asked my Ex "does he want our son to be happy, or live a miserable life". Sometimes I wonder.

01-06-2003, 11:16 AM
I know it's blasphemy to say it but I think pixie dust wouldn't even work on these people :)! I was really glad to see all the info because of your posting - now maybe I can dream of seeing my children on a trip like this. I know my 13-yr old stepdaughter is ready to go!! :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

01-06-2003, 11:26 AM
mcnuss...I was trying to find this post this morning to post that same link. I correct myself - I thougth it was a state sight that dh had given me, that is why I posted that I was incorrect.

That site that mcnuss posted is the information that I got. I agree that you should read this carefully - there are a lot of "OR"s listed that should help with what you need to obtain a passport if you think your ex will be giving you problems. Printing that out as was stated is an excellent idea. But still, planning ahead is always a good idea so that if you run into problems, you have time to try to get them resolved. And you still can check with your county courthouse (or county government office) for any assistance, they should be able to guide you also.

Thanks for the correction mcnuss - much appreciated.