Relocation or traveling with your children within Canada on plane

Traveling with children within Canada in Separation or Divorce

As family lawyers, we are commonly asked about traveling with your children within Canada in separation or divorce cases. To help, we decided to write a blog post about it. By traveling, we mean a short vacation and not a full on relocation. If you plan on relocating with your children read our blog post on relocation.

Traveling with children outside of BC within Canada in separation or divorce

If you do not have any court orders preventing you from traveling with your children outside of BC, generally speaking, you are free to travel within Canada without the written consent of the other parent. If you are traveling by plane you may want to check what documents the airline requires. For instance:

  • According to West Jet’s website:

“All children must be accompanied by an adult on WestJet operated flights until they reach their twelfth birthday unless they travel as an unaccompanied minor. They strongly recommend that all children travel with one piece of government-issued identification.”

“Your child may be denied boarding if they appear to be less than 12 years of age and are not able to present proof of age”.

  • According to Swoop’s website:
    • “Children between 2 and up to 12 must be accompanied with a traveller 12 years of age or older.
    • Swoop does not accept unaccompanied minors for travel.
    • Infants (under two years of age) require proof of age, such as a birth certificate (a photocopy is acceptable).
    • We strongly recommend that all children travel with one piece of government-issued identification.
    • Children (12-17) travelling alone may be denied boarding if they appear to be less than 12 years old and are not able to present proof of age.”

So, I do not have let my ex know my travel plans? Nope …

However, this does not give you carte blanche to travel with your children outside of BC without the other parent’s knowledge or consent. You need to consider the practical readabilities and consequences of your decision. Firstly, consider how you would feel if the other parent traveled outside of BC without your knowledge or consent. I bet you would want to know, at least in emergency cases, where your children are!

Another example is, if part of your travel time falls during the other parent’s parenting time. If the other parent is not aware of your travel plans, they may get the RCMP involved or report you for kidnapping your child(ren). Ok that might be a bit too extreme (not unheard of though)! Your ex may also apply to court on urgent basis to return the children to BC and ruin your vacation. Alternatively, your ex may bring an application to court to prevent you from traveling with your children outside of BC in future.

To conclude, you may not need the consent of the other parent to travel with your children outside of BC but within Canada, but it is best if you let them know about your travel plans before heading off to your vacation. If part of your travel falls within the other parent’s parenting time, you will likely need their consent to have the children for the extra time.

If you have questions about traveling with your children within Canada in cases of separation or divorce, contact us to book an initial consult with our seasoned Vancouver Family Law and Divorce Lawyers.