July 27, 2017

Can I take my child on holiday without permission? Guidance for separated parents at holiday time.

1.  If you want to take children out of England and Wales (ie abroad or even to Scotland or Ireland) you need the consent of anyone with Parental Responsibility, or a Court Order.

2.  Parental responsibility (PR) covers the legal rights, duties and responsibilities that parents have for their children. Biological mothers automatically have it. Biological fathers who were married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth or married subsequently have PR; so do unmarried fathers of children born after 1 December 2003 provided they’re named on the child’s birth certificate. The position is more complicated for same sex couples so if you’re in any doubt, take specialist advice.

3.  If there’s a Child Arrangements Order specifying where a child lives, then the parent with whom the child makes their main home under the terms of that order can take them abroad for up to 28 days without needing the consent of other PR holders.

4.  Don’t leave discussions about holidays until the last minute. If you think it’s going to be difficult to agree arrangements think about contacting a mediation service which may help you iron out any areas of dispute. Booking an expensive holiday on the assumption that your plans will be agreed when you know there’s a likelihood they won’t be is unlikely to get things off to a good start.

5.  Be prepared to share details of where you’re planning to stay, contact phone numbers and information about travel arrangements. If it’s information you’d want to have it’s information that it’s reasonable for you to provide.

6.  Court proceedings should be a last resort. They’re costly both financially and emotionally. If you do have to involve the courts they will look at what the court considers to be in your children’s best interests. If there’s a concern as to whether children will be brought back from a holiday it may be that there are safeguards that can be put in place to ensure this happens.

7.  Take advice if you’re in any way unsure as to your position. Cost effective, pragmatic and expert advice could save you spending significant amounts on contested proceedings and may help you refine proposals to achieve an agreement without the need for court.

(and don’t forget sunscreen and a hat!)

Our Family solicitors are experienced in dealing with the issue of removing a child from the UK (permanent or otherwise). Be it either gaining permission in advance, or dealing with the consequences of the action without permission, they can provide you with sensible, pragmatic legal advice on child arrangements


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