Taking your child abroad

Category: Children, Divorce

The summer holidays are in full swing! The suitcases are packed and the flights are booked. As exciting as family holidays are, they are not always smooth sailing. Many separated parents ask whether they can take their child abroad on holiday. The answer is yes, provided they have permission from everyone who has parental responsibility for that child.

Parental responsibility is “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”. It is worth noting that parental responsibility is not always automatically acquired and if you don’t have parental responsibility your permission to take the child on holiday abroad is not required.

If your former partner has parental responsibility and refuses to give you permission to take the child away on holiday, it is open to you to apply to the Family Court for a Specific Issue Order. A Specific Issue Order will be made when an issue arises in the exercise of parental responsibility. If the Court grants an Order allowing you to take the child away on holiday then you may do so.

If there is a Child Arrangement Order in place stating the child has residence with you (formerly known as a “residence order”) then you may remove the child from the country for a period of up to 4 weeks for the purposes of a holiday without requiring separate consent from the other holders of parental responsibility.

Should you have a query about whether you have parental responsibility or what rights you have, we have specialists at Nash & Co to answer your enquiry. Please ring on 01758 548324 to arrange an appointment with one of our specialists.

On a separate but related note, beware of airports denying passage to adults who have a different surname to the travelling child.

Airports have been known to adopt a very strict approach in requiring proof of the parental relationship to the travelling child, or a letter from the absent parent with permission to travel. If you have a different surname to your child make sure you take proof that you are the parent (e.g. a birth certificate) and/or you have a letter of permission from the absent parent. Parents being turned away from the airport is not unheard of!

Kirstin Sibley is a Solicitor within the Nash & Co Family team. She is a member of Resolution and deals with all areas of family law. She advises on a wide range of matters including divorce, financial relief, children and cohabitee disputes.

Phone Number: 01752 827038