As reported by TMZ, Gotham star Morena Baccarin recently received permission of the Court to travel to Brazil with her three year old son in order to visit the child's ailing grandmother, despite the objections of the child's father, Austin Chick. In making its decision, the Court noted that the Mr. Chick waited too long before objecting to the travel, and there was no reason for the Court to intervene to prevent the trip. On a positive note for Mr. Chick, he has been granted access to the child on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, on the eve of the trip.
Although both parties obtained something they wanted from this ruling, it's possible that this resolution could have been achieved through negotiation, without the intervention of the Court. With the holidays fast approaching, separated couples begin to discuss arrangements for the children, and it's common that one party may want to travel with the children to visit family, or on vacation. As always, the most important consideration when negotiating travel with a child is the best interests of the child.
If a parent wishes to travel with a child internationally, they must obtain the documented consent of each of the child's custodial guardians. Even if one parent has sole custody of the child, they must obtain the permission of the parent who has access to the child, unless a court Order states otherwise. Travel consent letters are proof that the child's other parent or guardians have consented to the child travelling. The purpose of these letters is to protect against international child abduction. The contents of a well-drafted travel consent letter will state not only that the non-travelling parent or guardian consents to the trip, but will also include precise details of the trip such as flight numbers, departure times, locations where the child will be staying, and plans for return. A travel consent letter which is too general and lacks in detail leaves room for ambiguity, which could result in a misunderstanding by either of the parties in respect of what is being consented to. Travel consent letters should be carefully drafted, and it is advisable to obtain legal advice before signing one.
With regards to negotiating the terms of one parent's travel with a child, the non-travelling parent may want to spend significant parenting time with the child ahead of the trip, particularly if the trip will be lengthy or will result in that parent missing a holiday with the child. In the case of Ms. Baccarin and Mr. Chick, the Court found a balance by permitting Ms. Baccarin's trip, while also providing Christmas Eve and Christmas Day access to Mr. Chick in advance of the trip.