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Separated Parents: Can I take my child on holiday abroad?

View profile for Bethany  Gray
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With the summer holidays fast approaching, many will be seeking some summer sun overseas. However, for some separated or divorced parents, this can be problematic and we suggest having the conversation about holidays as soon as possible, to try to prevent any last-minute difficulties.

Some of the most common questions we get asked are:

Do I need permission from my ex-partner to take our child abroad?

Yes, anyone with parental responsibility for a child must provide their consent and we would suggest getting this in writing.

Who has parental responsibility?

A mother automatically has parental responsibility for her child from birth.

A father usually has parental responsibility if he is either married to the child’s mother, or listed on the child’s birth certificate.

Parental Responsibility can also be granted by the Court.

What if the other parent won’t consent to the holiday?

If your ex-partner has parental responsibility and does not consent to the child being taken abroad, you will need to make an application to the Court for a Specific Issue Order, for the Court’s permission to take the child abroad.

The Court will consider the circumstances of the case and what is considered to be in the best interests of the child.

Such applications can take some weeks to be considered by the Court and then it could take even longer for a decision to be made, therefore, it is advisable make such an applications as far in advance of the holiday as possible.

What if I can’t get hold of the other parent/they don’t have a relationship with my child?

If the other parent has parental responsibility for the child and there are no existing Court Orders in place, you must still either obtain their consent or seek permission from the Court to take the child abroad. 

What if I already have a Court Order in place?

If you have a Child Arrangements Order in place confirming that your child lives with you, and provided there are no other Orders stating otherwise, you are usually permitted to take your child abroad for a period of up to one month, without requiring permission from anyone else with parental responsibility or order of the Court. This provision should be stated on your sealed Child Arrangements Order, so please check this carefully to ensure this applies to you and seek legal advice if you are unsure.  

At Johnson Astills, we can help advise you as to what your next steps should be if you feel that you need help with arranging to take your child abroad. Please do not hesitate to get in contact by either calling us on  0116 255 4855 or completing an online enquiry form here.