What you should think about when travelling with children

Travelling with your children, but without the other parent; there are some legal things you have to think about.

When you arrive at the customs, you have to be prepared that they can ask you:

  1. if you have the authority/custody over the children (which might not be clear if your children have a different family name as you have, for example after divorce or if you are not married);
  2. if there is another parent who has custody;
  3. if so, if the other parent agrees that you travel with his/her children.

If the other parent who has custody did not agree, or if it is not clear if he/she has agreed, they might not let you go, because you could abstract the children of the authority of the other parent, which is a crime in The Netherlands.

How can you show that you do have the authority to travel with your children? Take the documents with you to make clear that you are the parent with authority and that the other parent agrees with this trip. Those documents are:

– recent certified extract of recidence (which can be requested at the city hall (“gemeente”) of your city of residence);

– certified extract of birth certificate (which can be requested at the city hall (“gemeente”) of the place of birth of your children, or -in case you have let registrered it in The Hague- in The Hague);

– recent certified extract custody register (When you child has been born in The Netherlands you can send a letter to the “Gezagsregister” of the court in the court area of the place of birth.

– copy of the travel document of the other parent;

– a court order about custody or access;

this form, filled out by the other parent.

In The Netherlands, mostly both the parents have custody after a divorce. When you are divorced and your former spouse lives abroad, it sometimes can be difficult to get his or her permission for travelling. In this case, you can ask the court to give custody only to you to avoid these problems. For more information you can contact me.

Janneke Mulder

Family lawyer and divorce mediator at Uiteen – Kantoor voor Familierecht en Erfrecht in Rotterdam