Whether legal custody can be awarded to a third party when both parents are alive and one lives abroad; type of documentation obtained or issued to prove legal custody [COL37600.E]

The information that follows was provided during a 14 August 2001 telephone interview by a representative at the consular section of the Embassy of Colombia in Ottawa. The representative indicated that the statements are general answers to general questions, and specific cases may include circumstances that are not covered here.

Legal custody of a child is intrinsic to the parents, and cannot be renounced voluntarily or passed on to a third party; awarding legal custody to a third party can only be done through a judicial order or decision if and when special circumstances arise. The document that proves legal custody by a third party is a judicial sentence or decision (providencia judicial).

A third party may be given authorization, in a written and authenticated document, to obtain a passport for their minor child or to accompany their minor child on a trip abroad (see COL37599.E of 14 August 2001). However, this is not called, and is not equivalent to, legal custody (custodia legal).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Consular section, Embassy of Colombia, Ottawa. 14 August 2001. Telephone interview with representative.

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases.

El Espectador [Bogota]. Searchable archives.

Radio Caracol [Bogota]. Searchable archives.

Internet Websites and search engines, including:

Canadian Embassy in Bogota

Embassy of Colombia, Ottawa

Ministry of Justice and Law Documentation Centre

Presidency of Colombia

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Bogota


This list is not exhaustive. Country and subject-specific publications available at the Resource Centre are not included.