Are you separated and planning to take your children abroad during the school summer holidays?
This article provides helpful guidance on steps to ensure there are no surprises.
- Is written consent required?
It is important you are aware of whether written consent is required to take your child abroad..
To take your child abroad written consent is required from everyone who has parental responsibility for your child.
There are two exceptions to this:
- If you have a Residence Order, you can take your child abroad for up to 28 days without acquiring permission. This is as long as no other court order prohibits you from doing so.
- A Court Order gives consent.
If you are the mother you will automatically have parental responsibility as will the father if you were married at the time of the child’s birth. An unmarried father of a child born after 1 December 2003 will only have parental responsibility if he jointly registered the child’s birth and is named on the birth certificate.
- Obtaining consent
It is highly recommended that parents try and come to an agreement regarding holidays outside of the court system. Leaving the decision with the courts is expensive and there is always a risk that you may not get the outcome you are hoping for.
If an agreement cannot be reached and consent is being refused, then a Specific Issue Application can be made to the Court under Section 8 of the Children Act.
- Obtaining a Court Order
The Court considers various factors when determining an application for a Specific Issue Order. Their main focus is on the welfare of your child. The court is likely to rule in favour of taking your child on holiday provided it is a well-planned and enjoyable holiday, and there is no risk to the child (including a risk that they might not be returned)
Objecting parents would require a good reason to prove the holiday was not in their child’s best interests, for example, if it meant they missed important schooling; your child had ill health; or there was a risk of not returning your child.
- Planning for future holidays
Seeking consent from those with parental responsibility prior to booking the holiday can help reduce any stress, should your ex-partner refuse to grant permission. Agreeing guidelines in advance for taking your child abroad, for example, the provision of information about the travel arrangements and accommodation and telephone/ facetime contact with the other parent, can keep a consistent procedure for all involved.
If you require any advice concerning taking your child on holiday, or would like more information about your options, please do not hesitate to contact Jen Pollock firstname.lastname@example.org or Jennifer Hargreaves email@example.com.