If you want to take your child abroad, you must have the permission of anyone else who has parental responsibility for your child, and in fact it’s a criminal offence to take a child away without permission.
Parental responsibility gives you the right to make day to day decisions about your child’s care, and a mother will always have parental responsibility. Anyone else who is named on your child’s birth certificate will also have parental responsibility, and there are also other ways of acquiring it.
There is an exception to this if there is a child arrangements order in place. A child arrangements order is a court order which sets out who your child will live with, and who they will spend time with. If your child arrangements order says that your child will live with you then you are entitled to take your child out of the country for up to 28 days without the other parent’s consent. However, we always encourage parents to make every effort to keep lines of communication open, and it’s sensible to let the other parent know what your plans are and where their child will be.
If your ex is happy for you to take your child away on holiday, it’s helpful to have something in writing to confirm their consent to the trip which you can take away with you. It’s unlikely that you will need to show this to anyone, but you may find it comforting to have with you. It’s also a good idea to take your child’s birth certificate and your marriage or divorce certificate if your surname is different to your child’s.
If your ex does not give you permission to take your child on holiday, then you have the option of making a court application for permission. The court will usually only refuse permission if there is a genuine concern about the holiday, for example if there is a concern that you will not return to the UK with your child, or if the holiday is in a dangerous place. You should make your application in plenty of time in advance of your holiday, as it’s always difficult to say exactly how long an application will take to be dealt with at court.
If you would like any advice on your personal circumstances please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 020 3701 5915 and we will explain how we can help.
Tags: consent to travel, parental responsibility, school holidays, separated parents, Suzi Denton, travelling with children