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Old 11-10-2012, 07:33 PM   #1
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Travelling with Stepkids

hey all!

We are taking DSS 14 on a cruise in January. He has been to WDW with us many times, this is the first time on DCL.

Do I need anything from his mom for him to board the ship?
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:40 AM   #2
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I assume you mean he will be traveling with you and his father? Does the father have partial custody and is there anything on the custody order regarding taking child out of state or country? I am a divorced mom with primary physical custody of my son but share legal custody with his father. Our custody agreement does not say anything about getting permission from the other parent for traveling. I have taken 2 Disney cruises, just my son and I. Of course I've always told his dad of my plans and he had to come with us to get my son's passport, which he needs to get off the ship at ports. I always take a copy of my custody order as well and a letter from my ex saying he permits our son to go. Nobody has ever questioned or asked for anything. I think it is because my son and I still have the same last name. I will still bring all that info with me on our next cruise too just in case. I know Disney has a parental authorization form that appears to be for people taking a child on a cruise when they are not a legal guardian. If the father is not cruising with you, you as the stepparent, will need to have this completed and notarized in order to travel with your stepson.

Bottom line is make sure you are covered in every way possible. You don't want to get to the Port and find out you can't board with your stepson! I even ask my ex to keep his phone close the day we board in case i need anything from him! Good luck a and I hope you have a nice trip!
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:55 AM   #3
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Officially, a child who is traveling with one parent needs nothing from the other parent. He will, of course, still need the birth certificate or passport. Since you said "we" are taking, I'm guessing that the other part of the "we" is the child's father. If the father is not going, a stepmother counts the same as any other friend or relative and would need the minor authorization form.

In regard to the above post--it never hurts to carry documentation with you in the form of a notarized letter giving permission to take the child out of the country, a copy of the custody decree or whatever. DCL never asks for them, but you never know what US Customs will ask about (odd, because at that point you are bringing the child back into the US)

And note to above post--no one (adult or child) needs a passport to get off in MOST of the ports that DCL visits. If a passport is required on your cruise, that will be noted. Canada and European ports require passports. Otherwise, the child can get off and on at various ports of call with a KTTW card only. At embarkation, a certified birth certificate or passport is required.

Personal experience--I cruised as a single parent more than 15 times on DCL and a couple on other lines before DD became a legal adult. I was never questioned or asked for anything beyond the certified birth certificate or passport when boarding a ship. We did have a couple of odd Customs interviews when coming into the country--agent asking child who I was.

Last edited by kcashner; 11-11-2012 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:06 AM   #4
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I am traveling with my two boys and my boyfriend this January. I restored my maiden name so my kids and I do not share he same last name. I have composed a letter that my ex will sign and have notarized. If you google "consent to travel form" there are a number of links that will come up. I have shared custody and will take my parenting agreement as well as my decree which shows my name change. My boys have passports but I may take their birth certificates as well as is proves my relationship to them. I know I probably won't be asked for any of this documentation, but I'd much rather be safe than sorry!
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:15 AM   #5
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I've never run into any problem, but we also bring the paperwork trail just in case. With my oldest (same last name as mine), I would carry a notarized letter from his mother similar to the consent to travel form referenced above

For my step sons (different last name) we carry the travel letter plus the birth certificates and marriage certificate so the last name can easily be traced.

The closest I've come to anyone mentioning it was a US customs official when we returned from Costa Rica asked our youngest who is mom ways. I'm not sure that was related to this in anyway, he just might have been being talkative.

In the late 90s, I remember this being a much larger issue than today, but it still gets a fair amount of coverage. I've always associated the paper work for a single parent traveling with minor as protection against being accused of any sort of child abduction.
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:09 PM   #6
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I like the PP's idea of bringing a birth certificate even though our son has a passport. I did not change my name when I got married, so my son and I don't have the same last name.
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:27 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the responses!

We are working on getting him a passport so hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later. If we cannot, and have to bring the birth certificate, I will be reaching out to his mother (my husband's ex-wife) to have a letter notarized indicating it is ok for him to sail x-date to x-date. I would rather be safe than sorry as it's his first cruise and he's so excited (usually we go when school is in session, and he cannot go because of my husband's ex-wife).

All I remember is watching a reality program about one of the "Oasis" class ships at RCL and the parent with the baby needed a letter from the other parent. Maybe it was just like a horrible one-time situation, but you never know.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:29 PM   #8
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If dad is going you should not have a issue, we went on the dream in april and when we booked we thought we had to have something so we went through MONTHS of bm trying to blackmail us ( to give her dh time or other things ) before we relized we did not need anything, my dh has 50% custody with no restriction so wr made sure to book when he was with us and she HATED it when she found out we did not need her to sign anything. Lol
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:49 PM   #9
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The above is absolutely correct. The point is that the kids are traveling with their father. The stepmother (sorry if this sounds harsh) has no legal part in the situation. If the stepmother is taking the kids without her husband, that's a totally different situation, but again requires a signature from only one parent.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:42 PM   #10
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From Customs and Border Protection:

If a child (under the age of 18) is traveling with only one parent or someone who is not a parent or legal guardian, what paperwork should the adult have to indicate permission or legal authority to have that child in their care?

Due to the increasing incidents of child abductions in disputed custody cases and as possible victims of child pornography, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 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, friends, or in groups*, a note signed by both parents) stating "I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter/group. He/She/They has/have my permission to do so." See our Q&A parental consent.

* School groups, teen tours, vacation groups.

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; 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).
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