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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
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What can a parent do when the other parent does not want to

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What can a parent do when the other parent does not want to sign a letter of consent to travel abroad with a child?

My partner and I will be travelling with our children at the beginning of January 2014. My partner's ex has reluctantly agreed to let their daughter Emma travel with us and we have already purchased our tickets (in May). However, she does not want to provide the passport or the signed travel letter until January (at the very last minute) and we do not trust that she will do so. Emma's father has asked his ex to provide the documents ahead of time but she refuses. He even sent her a draft letter of consent and a request for her to take it to her lawyer to have it notarised, to sign it and to return to him along with Emma's passport by September 30, 2013. In this request, he also noted that he would pay the notarisation fee and that if she not comply with this request, he will be forced to obtain these documents through legal action and this will be at her expense. She made it quite clear that she will not comply by saying things like "You'll get the papers when I feel like it; I know my rights and I have until January to provide you the papers; Who do you think you are? I don't take orders from you; She's MY daughter so I decide."

Given her usual and continued lack of cooperation, we do not trust her to keep her word and we do not want to wait until the last minute to find out. Come January, if fhe does not provide the documents, we will not have time to take any legal action before the trip and we will also lose $550 on Emma's travel ticket. What can we do to resolve this issue ahead of time?

Just in case the law differs from one province to another, I should mention that the father lives in Ontario and the mother and daughter live in Quebec.

Thank you.

Thank you for your question.

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The father may have to bring an application to the Court for an order allowing him to take the child outside of Canada.

And if he does the Court will order that the mother pay for some of his legal costs.

So a good first step would be for him to send her a letter stating his intention to do so and telling her to speak to a lawyer. The lawyer will likely tell her she has to co-operate or she will get stuck her a lot of legal fees.

But if it comes down to it your husband will have to retain a lawyer in Quebec unfortunately.

If necessary he can contact the Law Society and use their Lawyer Referral Service. He will be given the name of a lawyer and can consult with the lawyer and the first half hour will be $30.

The contact information can be found here:

Let me know if you need any further clarification.
Debra and other Canada Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. Thet was the answer i was hoping for. I do have a few related questions:
1) the mother claims that she consulted a lawyer and that she has no obligation to provide the documents until January (just before the travel date). We are skeptical that she consulted. Regardless, is there a specific timeframe prior to travel that the concenting parent should provide the travel letter and passport?
2) We live in Ottawa, Ontario and the Quebec provincial border is close by. Does he need to get a lawyer in Quebec city where the mother lives (which is 5 hours away) or can it be anywhere in Quebec, such as Gatineau which is minutes away from ottawa?

Thank you.

There is no specific timeframe but given her past lack of co-operation a Court would likely understand why you need this well ahead of time.

He can start out with any lawyer in Quebec but if this has to go to Court the lawyer is not going to drive 5 hours for court so then he would need another one.