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NinaClock February 26th, 2004 08:42 AM

Absent Parent consent form needed?
My boyfriend is raising a teenage boy who is the son of his ex-wife, and not his biological child. Our TA said that we would need an Absent Parent consent form to take him on the cruise with us. We have written, notarized permission from his mother (who has sole custody), but have no idea where his biological father is - he has never been a part of the child's life. The Carnival Terms and Agreement mentions needing parental consent from absent parents if disembarking in Mexico for longer than 24 hours, but does not mention any other country. Does anyone know for sure if we will need the absent parent consent to travel to Nassau? Please help!! I don't want to get to Port Canaveral and find out we can't cruise because we can't get permission from this child's unreachable father. Any information on this subject would be appreciated. Thanks CruiseMates!

PapaBill February 26th, 2004 09:37 AM

Re: Absent Parent consent form needed?
May I suggest that this is not a question for a chat board answer. What will you say at the pier if you do not have what you need, "PapaBill said this was all I needed"?
You need to contact Carnival, give them all the specifics , withhold nothing, and get a response in writing . This way you have a leg to stand on if "rebuffed" at thepier.

Travelbug February 26th, 2004 10:05 AM

Re: Absent Parent consent form needed?
You should speak to someone at Carnival for specific details. We are cruising in Alaska and need the forms. My sister also needs the father's death certificate as proof of being a single parent. If they say you need parental consent forms from both parents it doesn't usually matter if they are part of the childs life or not unfortunately. Good luck.

NinaClock February 26th, 2004 10:33 AM

Re: Absent Parent consent form needed?
Thanks for the sound advice. I will contact Carnival, present the facts and let them direct me from there. Having something is writing is always a good idea!

PapaBill February 26th, 2004 10:55 AM

Re: Absent Parent consent form needed?
By the way, if in fact you are going to represent that the childs father is unknown, you may need to present his birth certificate with that stated on it.

Melisa February 26th, 2004 10:57 AM

Re: Absent Parent consent form needed?
When we went on our cruise in December, we brought along our adopted son. We adopted him in September, but had not yet received any paperwork from the court. We had nothing stating he was ours. The only thing we had was his original birth certificate listing his bio parents information. We purchased the tickets in his bio name and did not change it to his adopted name because we didn't have any new paperwork. No one batted an eye either at the airport or Carnival about his name being different, etc.

My bio daughter's father left when she was 2 and we haven't heard from him since. My husband adopted her. We have always traveled and never had anyone ask for consent from her absent father. We have also taken other people's children on vacation with us, and the only thing I usually bring along is a consent from the parent's for medical care. I also send the same along when my children vacation without us.

That being said, I do agree with the other poster's about checking with Carnival directly and getting it in writing. What one person tells you at Carnival may be completely different with another person from Carnival.

pnorth February 26th, 2004 12:32 PM

Re: Absent Parent consent form needed?
That should not be a problem since you are staying overnight in Mexico.

NinaClock February 26th, 2004 05:04 PM

Re: Absent Parent consent form needed?
Thanks again for everyone's input! You've all been very helpful. Melissa - getting it in writing is what I intend to do. It's the only safe way to make sure I have the proper documentation.

PapaBill - the boy's father is not unknown, we just don't know where he is. Long story short - he is named on the birth certificate, but was never married to the boy's mother. He has never met the boy (now 15), nor does he care to. He did not respond to a legal petition to have the boy's last name legally changed to my boyfriend's name (my boyfriend was married to the child's mother at the time). My boyfriend married the mother when the boy was four, and continues to raise him since their divorce two years ago. Even if we do locate the father, I hold no hope that we can get him to respond let alone go to the trouble of filling out a travel consent form and having it notarized. It will be hard to prove that the father was even contacted if we cannot get a written response of some kind from him. This, in turn, could impact our trip.

Just a word of warning to those traveling with minor children - we literally stumbled across this need to have a travel consent form from the "absent" parent quite by accident. There was a typo on one of the names on our cruise reservation paperwork and I called our online TA to have it corrected. That's when I learned about this consent form. Had the name not been misspelled, I would have never known about this! While I agree that this matter should not be settled or decided in this forum, I do think it's important that single parents, grandparents, etc. know about this rule. It is to protect children against abduction - and I can't argue with that, but it does make it difficult for those who have "special" family circumstances. Divorce and death of a parent or adoption can be easily proven with legal documents, but the absent parent can be due to a whole lot of reasons. I found a website that listed problems such as "I don't know who the father of my child is", "the absent parent is abusive and I don't want to contact him for the safety of my child", "I contacted my ex-husband and he said he would sign the consent form if I made a deal with him with regards to back child support he owed". The list of problems with getting consent went way beyond anything I could have imagined.

It is unfortunate that a much anticipated family vacation has now become a paperwork nightmare, but I DO understand the reason for the consent form, so I forge ahead with optimism. I will resolve this matter directly with Carnival to make sure that we have all the proper documentation needed and report back with my findings so that others will know. I would also recommend that everyone traveling with minor children contact the cruise line AND the airline (if applicable) to get the correct information for YOUR specific situation. Thanks again to everyone for their input.

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