Taking your child abroad as a single parent? Here is what you need to know

With summer fast approaching, it is time to start thinking about your long-awaited holiday. The legal rules on taking children abroad can be more complex for separated parents, so I’m here to help simplify them for you.

Do I require my ex’s permission to take my child on holiday? 

Yes, if you share parental responsibility and there are no relevant court orders in place. This also applies to any other person who has parental responsibility for your child, such as a step-parent. 

Permission from your former partner is not needed if the holiday is within England or Wales, and is booked on dates that fall within agreed arrangements for your child. If the holiday falls during time that the other parent is due to care for the child, then you will require their consent to change the arrangements. 

You do not need permission from your former partner if they do not have parental responsibility for your child, but you may wish to obtain their consent to avoid any potential conflict. 

What if I have a court order? 

If you have a Child Arrangement Order in place, stating that your child lives with one parent, then the position changes. In those circumstances, that parent is permitted to take the child abroad for up to one month, without the consent of the other parent. Additionally, if you have a court order which specifically grants permission for your child to be taken abroad, then consent from the other parent is not required. 

Do I have parental responsibility? 

A mother will automatically have parental responsibility for their child. A child’s father will have parental responsibility if he is married to the mother. If unmarried, the father’s name will need to be on the child’s birth certificate to acquire parental responsibility. If you have jointly adopted a child, both parents will have parental responsibility. In any other case, a father will not have automatic parental responsibility without an order from the court or entering into a parental responsibility agreement with the mother. 

What if my ex will not give their consent? 

It is always preferable to first attempt mediation to resolve matters by agreement. However, in the event your former partner refuses you permission to take your child on holiday, you can apply to the court, who will then decide whether it is in your child’s best interest to go. 

When travelling, it is always sensible to carry a signed consent letter from the other parent, to avoid being held up at the airport.

Need our help? 

If you are concerned about whether you have parental responsibility for your child or wish to take your child on holiday and need advice, do not hesitate to contact me via ejcoombs.co.uk.

Gina Nicolas - EJ Coombs SolicitorsEJ Coombs Solicitors logo

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