Why A Divorced Parent Might Be Shocked If Asked This Question When Travelling With Their Children

Why A Divorced Parent Might Be Shocked If Asked This Question When Travelling With Their Children

If you are a divorced parent with children, your divorce lawyers may have advised you if you wish to travel with your children overseas, on a vacation for example, that it is not just a case of turning up at the airport with your suitcases and passports. There are further considerations that have to be made, not just to comply with family law, but for other important reasons which extend to other countries.

Firstly, there should not usually be any reasons why you cannot take your children on an overseas vacation if you are divorced. Even if your ex-spouse tries to throw a spanner in the works and objects, unless their objection has merit, the Family Court will likely rule that their objections are spurious and grant an order allowing you to take your children out of the country.

However, even if your ex has no objections, there are still some hoops you may have to go jump through. We will cover the more mundane ones further on, but there is one which lone parents are finding increasingly when they are entering other countries. Specifically, they are being asked a question that causes a reaction ranging from mild surprise to absolute shock.

The question is “Where is the children’s father/mother?”. To many, that might not seem a question that merits much consideration, but if you are a single parent, it might not seem appropriate for you to have to explain to a complete stranger your marital status or that you are divorced, even if that complete stranger is a border official carrying out their duty.

Understandably, lone mothers travelling with their children might be especially taken aback. Given that we live in a world where misogyny and inequality are still sadly all too common, the question can seem inappropriate. How it is asked, especially if the border guard is male, can seem to cast doubt that a mother cannot travel with children unless her husband is with her.

We should point out that, whilst the question may upset and even anger a lone parent, be they a mother, or a father, it is being asked for the best of reasons. Across the world, instances of child trafficking are increasing, and this is why border guards and passport control staff have become ever more vigilant. As such, one of the ways they try to deter child traffickers is to be watchful for single adults travelling with children.

Be assured that they are not asking the question because they doubt your ability as a parent or to be unduly intrusive about your marital status. Nor is it a suggestion to mothers that they do not have the right to travel without the children’s father being present.

Our advice is to answer such questions calmly and openly. Taking offence and causing a scene is only going to escalate matters to the extent that you may be held for further questioning to ensure that you are not trying to traffic children.

As for what other steps you need to take to travel overseas with your children, your divorce lawyers can advise you. In most cases, you need the children’s passports, a copy of your divorce settlement showing you have part/full custody of your children, a copy of your children’s birth certificates, and a document, such as a letter, showing you have your ex-spouse’s consent to travel overseas with your children.