Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Do grandparents need guardianship papers?

Notices

Do grandparents need guardianship papers?

Old Dec 18th, 2006, 03:44 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 817
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Do grandparents need guardianship papers?

We're taking our eldest grandsons, ages 15 and 16, to Paris and Rome in March. We've purchased trip/medical insurance for all of us, but I'm wondering if we'll need some sort of paperwork giving us authority to provide them with medical care if the situation were to arise. It seems a lot of grandparents are taking their grandchildren abroad now, so I'm wondering what paperwork we might need - can any of you with this experience help me?
Hagan is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2006, 03:46 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You do need this, and parental permission letters are advised too. Best to look for a specialized site that can give you precise information.
WillTravel is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2006, 03:50 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Besides their passports you will need notarized letters signed by both parents giving you the right to take them out of the country as well as make medical decisions on their behalf.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2006, 03:56 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 560
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's probably safe yes... But I've taken minors (nieces, friends) on overseas trips without having any of this or ever being asked. Especially when the kids are old enough to answer basic questions like "Do you want to be with this woman". My son starting travelling in Europe alone at 16... So if you can go alone, I think you can go with an adult.
julie_Colorado is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2006, 04:01 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,301
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Depends on the specific country whether or not you are required to have such documents - in Mexico, for example, it is mandatory and you can be refused entry. In other places it is still a good idea. With any luck you will not need to use it, but it is quite easy to just get a notarized letter signed by both parents stating that they authorize you to take the kids traveling and to make any required medical decisions and to specify dates it is in effect. Also a good idea to be sure the kids have some sort of insurance ID card if they are covered under their parents' policy. Again, just prudent to have it.
Seamus is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2006, 04:32 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 817
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks to all for the quick responses. The only problem I have is that their father lives in a different city, and we may have a problem getting anything back and signed from him. He's been less than cooperative with everything else for the last 8 years. But we'll give it a try.

I may just have our daughter write something up and have it notarized - that would probably be sufficient. Hopefully, we won't need any of this!
Hagan is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2006, 04:35 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A situation where the parents are divorced or separated is potentially a landmine. I hate to suggest this complication for such a nice gesture, but I do think it best to consult an attorney. Admittedly the older ages of the children will certainly help.
WillTravel is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2006, 05:56 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,549
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If your daughter has legal custody of the boys, you should have a copy of that document with you. If she has sole custody, she should be able to sign the notarized consent herself. I took an unrelated child (my daughter's girlfriend) to France one time. I insisted the parents sign a notarized form for me because I was worried about being able to sign permission for treatment in the event of some medical emergency (the child did have ongoing medical problems s a result of mild cerebral palsy which affected one side of her body). I was never asked for the document. It was just something I wanted in case of emergency. I believe it was only the mother who signed the document, although the parents were not divorced.

You know, in these situations, sometimes it is best to say nothing about only the mother's name being on the document. Only get into it if you are asked a direct question.

Before shelling out money for an attorney (and I am one) in this situation, I would call the French and Italian Embassies and inquire if you are concerned. As a practical matter if the boys' father is not cooperative, what do you think an attorney could do to get him to sign a notarized form? I hate to tell you this: But probably nothing--and you would waste your money. There are situations where lawyers cannot solve these problems. I may be an attorney, but one of my "bete noires" in my profession is some of my colleagues bilking people for a lot of money to give advice in a situation like this. It does happen all the time. I refuse cases when I know that, as a practical matter, it is a situation not amenable to resolution to an attorney. We cannot solve all problems and some problems are unamenable to a legal resolution. Forcing your ex-son-in-law to sign a notarized document allowing to take the boys to Europe is one of those.

My hunch is that you would be just fine taking your grandsons to Europe at their ages without too much trouble. As someone pointed out, they could be traveling abroad on their own without supervision at their ages. For example, they could take a plane by themselves to visit friends somewhere.

I do not see that you are going to have a problem. Save your money from an unnecessary visit to a lawyer and spend it on the trip!
FauxSteMarie is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2006, 07:05 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,820
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have taken my grandaughter to Europe since she was 7 1/2 years old.
I never had any problems leaving the country with her despite that her last name is different from mine.
I recommend anyway to have a notarized letter giving you permission to take your grandchildren to a Medical facility in case of illness.Others than that, dont worry about it and enjoy your trip.
kismetchimera is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2006, 02:32 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,774
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As a three-last-names, frequently-traveling family, we had never been asked questions when we travel until recently!

DD (13yr old) was submitted to quite an interrogatory in Zurich airport: When did you come in? Who did you travel with? Where did you meet with this gentleman? What is your relation to him (DH)? To her(me)? Where did you go? Mode of transportation?

DD kept answering and answering. After the tenth question she began was cleary puzzled and began looking at me with some uncertainty before answering. I guess she realized she was giving too much info to a stranger. I told her that it was OK she could answer but more than that I was not allowed to intervene.

At one point I interrupted and offered to show the counter officer all the documentation we had. She relented at that point and I did not have to show all the papers but if I had not had them with me there might have been an issue. The entire questioning took at least twenty minutes. It was good that we had time.

I thought it was interesting that this happened in Switzerland as we headed home after vacation and not on the way out of the US.
marigross is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2006, 08:04 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The "permission to seek medical care" may be required even in the US. We live in a resort area, and our local hospital advises it for friends traveling with your children and even high school age "mother's helpers" who come along with families to the beach.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2006, 08:10 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,740
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If the mother has legal custody have her sign a "Medical Power of Attorney" assigning you as the one temporarily in charge. You can pick up this form from any stationery shop that sells Stevens-Ness legal forms.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2006, 10:18 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think you raise two separate issues with respect to minors who are not your children:

First, medical treatment.

Second, child abduction.

With respect to medical treatment, no medical treatment is absolutely risk free, so practitioners are trained to get a competent consent before doing many procedures. Anytime you go in for surgery, they will have you read and sign a consent, acknowledging that you have been told about the risks, and accept them (the fact that they never give you time to actually read the form is irrelevant, you can always take the time). In the case of a minor, they want that consent from a parent or custodian, or their documented representative. So whether you are home or on the road, when you are caring for your grandchildren, you should have a power of attorney authorizing you to consent to medical treatment on behalf of the parent or custodian. When you send your kids to summer camp, or even on a school field trip, you are most likely required to sign such an authorization, if the camp or school knows what they are doing. So certainly you should have this when you take your grandchildren, or kids friends, or any minor who is not your child, overseas.

As to child abduction, we have probably all read about situations where a child has been abducted and taken overseas, the the difficulties all governments seem to have in correcting these situation. I live by a very ethnic town, with a very large population of immigrants. A too common case is where immigrant parents divorce, the mother gets custody, and the father takes the kids back to his native country, beyond the reach of the US authorities. Imagine a situation where a pedophile grabbed a child and spirited the child into another country. Governments are concernced with these situations, but, despite a few treaties, they seem to have no way to combat them effectively. So my feeling is that an immigration screener who intently questions a minor who might have been abducted (and different names seems to be a clue as to the possibility) is doing something that we should praise. So while documentation of the relationship may not be required (and may even not be convincing to the screener), I would get a notarized letter from the custodial parent, at least, explaining the family situation and all relationships, and authorizing you to take the grandchildren to France and Italy.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2006, 10:32 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,301
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Faux - your post redeems the reputation of your profession, at least a little ;-)

Clevelandbrown - you hit it. The reason Mexico's immigration is so tough about documents of authorization from non-accompanying parents is the huge problem with child abduction. Even if the minor child is accompanied by a same last name parent, they will often ask to see written authorization from the other parent. (Yes, I recognize that this can crete a problme for single parents.)
Seamus is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2006, 10:34 AM
  #15  
LJ
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,759
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As don a women's residence for high schools age students, mostly from North America, in Italy, this came up frequently. I don't think there was a week went by that one out of the 150 students didn't go to the hospital for something!

In loco parentis, you MUST have a signed sheet giving authorization for medical treatment for a youngster not your own. Having said that, the Italian hospitals routinely accepted anything written with a signature purporting to be that of the parent. They are, quite, understandably, seeking to cover themselves in a legal jam, after the fact. Can't speak for France.
LJ is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2006, 11:59 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 817
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wonderful advice here, as usual!

Faux, you are indeed a credit to your profession and I appreciate your honesty.

Marigross, your experience sounds really nerve-wacking, your poor daughter!

I think I will have my daughter get a Power of Attorney for hubby and me and have it notarized, just to play it safe. Better to be prepared. Thanks again, everyone.
Hagan is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2006, 12:15 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 177
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hagan - Thanks for asking my question. My husband and I are in exactly the same position. Our grand-daughter is 11 years old with unco-op father. We will do as recommended by fodorites. Isnt this a great site? Regards Pawsha
pawsha is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2006, 12:29 PM
  #18  
jay
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 998
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As other posters have said it is imperative that you have signed and NOTARIZED letters saying that you can travel with the children. The letter should also say that you are able to make medical decisions for the child. I also strongly suggest medical insurance info as well. (sorry didn't see that in the post)

99 pct. of the time you won't need it but the one percent will usually come when you aren't prepared.
jay is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2006, 12:31 PM
  #19  
jay
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 998
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
P.S. the parents need to sign the letter.
jay is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2006, 12:39 PM
  #20  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,682
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi H,

A Power of Attorney is nothing more than a note saying, "I (name) hereby grant Power of Attorney to (name) in all matters regarding the health and welfare of my son/daughter (name) from (date) to (date)".

I've not yet had to have one notarized.

If their mother is the custodial parent, you don't need permission from the father to take them out of the country.

You might want the permission authorized.

You might also find it useful to translate the notes into French and Italian.

See http://www.freetranslation.com/

>He's been less than cooperative with everything else for the last 8 years. <

You're a member of the club, too.


ira is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO