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Three steps to take before taking a child on vacation

While Michigan offers beautiful landscapes and activities for the entire family, everyone wants to leave the states and enjoy an international holiday. Whether it’s to Europe, Asia or Mexico, you want to see the world, especially with your child.

Unfortunately, there are a few extra steps that divorced parents need to implement before taking off to the next country.

Secure visas for you and your child

Passports or visas take a significant amount of time to process; the U.S. government suggests people apply for passports at least 12 weeks before a vacation. There are no exceptions for these documents, even for newborns. Your best strategy is to start the passport or visa process as soon as you start planning the trip.

Also, notify your co-parent of your international vacation and your intention to apply for a passport. The other parent may have to sign off on the application, so make sure you are open and honest with your parenting partner.

Obtain a notarized letter from your co-parent

While you discuss the passport application, take the time to discuss the possibility of a notarized letter from your co-parent. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) suggests any parent who is traveling alone with their child to get a note from the other parent 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.”

Having the note notarized gives you more credibility if you have problems at the border or if your co-parent makes false allegations in Michigan. Also, if you don’t have a notarized letter, CBP has the right to detain you at the border for taking a child out of the country without both parents.

Prepare your child’s plane ticket

Once the applications are filed and the note is notarized, you can finally plan the fun aspects of your trip, including hotels, activities and plane tickets. When booking plane tickets, make sure to know the airline’s standards for car seats and carry-on luggage.

Also, consider booking an evening flight if possible. Long trips are already challenging with children, but flying overnight allows the child to sleep while traveling. It also gives you time to rest before you land in your international location.

Luckily, preparation is the boring part. Once you and your child land, you can enjoy your vacation and quality time with your kid. Don’t let divorce proceedings or daily stresses affect your international trip.