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Children and Divorce


Divorcing couples should take close care and consideration for what the future looks like for their children. The many changes caused by a family break up can have profound effects on the children involved, whatever their age. Marriage is an institution that is widely accepted as a stable unit in which children can grow with the security, love, and care, so essential to the well being of sons or daughters. Both parents should take an active role in assuring their kids that the world will not end, they will still see both parents, and their care for them, albeit provided separately, will still remain.

Emotional Scars
There are life-long scars and effects on children if their divorcing parents do not do everything within their power to provide a sound home environment. For example, if the parent who is supposed to pay Child Support, under the Federal Child Support Guidelines, fails to do so, the child must live at a lower standard than many of his classmates. This can result in lost opportunities in sports, education, school activities, and most importantly, could result in a troubled child. They may feel unloved, or full of resentment to one parent or both, and live their entire lives with very damaging low self esteem. Children can take on the qualities of a parent when the example may be less than ideal. If their picture of their parent is one of a loser, they may feel they must be too.

Parenting Programs
With the co-operation of both parents, parenting programs can be created that avoid conflict and misunderstandings involving the children. Conflict, especially in the face of the children, should be avoided. Similarly, rude or disparaging remarks about the other parent can cause damage to the relationship of a healthy family environment. A child views themselves as a part of both parents, and when one is made out to be a worthless person, the child may feel he or she must be as well.

Travel Agreements
Parenting plans can avoid later conflicts and legal expense. Rules need to be in place regarding custody, access, travel, vacations, activities, etc. Travel can often lead to conflict. Both parents may have plans for certain dates, or visits with distant relatives, or holiday attractions. Christmas, Easter Break, Summer holidays are times when this can occur. It is important to iron out an agreement and terms well before an occasion arises where a parent may have to travel with the child out of the city, province, or country.

Children over 16 years old, traveling out of Canada, will need their own passport. Parents must co-operate to apply by providing written consent. It takes some time to complete such matters and therefore the issue is best dealt with at the time of separation. Leaving things to the last minute can result in delays and disappointment. It can happen that one parent opposes the travel, for whatever reason. If that is the case, an expensive Court Application is required to resolve the issue and that can take many weeks to secure.

Nanaimo Divorce urges parents to include travel considerations and rules in their Matrimonial Settlement Agreement, at the time of separation or divorce. The agreement can indicate consent for the application of a passport, details of where the documents will be kept, and prior consent for travel out of the jurisdiction.

Nanaimo Divorce can provide proper Consent Letters that are in accordance in form and content required by the Federal Government-Foreign Affairs and Travel. These should include the specific details of the name and date of birth of the child traveling, the date of leaving and return, and the location of the child during the visit. Specific flight numbers and dates can be useful.

Passport officials can be very thorough in examining your documents. We recommend the letters be Notarized as authentic, to avoid any questions, or delays in processing. You should have with you, to show officials, your Divorce Order indicating custody terms, and a Separation Agreement indicating the terms regarding the children.

Most countries wish to see that the other parent not traveling is aware of a trip by his or her child, and their written consent is most ideal. This can often be covered by parents who agree, with a letter authorizing travel outside the country. An Agreement could specify that any reasonable travel with the child outside the country is acceptable by general agreement. This would avoid preparing and notarizing a separate letter on every occasion.

The key to avoiding disappointment in travel arrangements is to prepare properly well in advance of your planned journey.

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