With Summer just around the corner, lots of separated parents will be hoping to head off on their summer holidays with their children. If this applies to you, it is important to think about whether you need consent from anyone else, usually your child’s other parent, before committing to the holiday.

If you do require the other parent’s consent to take your child out of the jurisdiction, and you fail to obtain this the consequences could be very. If you are unsure as to whether this applies to your situation, always seek legal advice.

If there is a Court Order, any person who has a Child Arrangements Order in their favour, confirming that the child/children live with them can take the children out of the jurisdiction for the purposes of a holiday for up to 28 days at a time without requiring the other parents consent. We would however always advise you to seek consent in any event. Sometimes, the Court can also make a Prohibited Steps Order or Specific Issue Order that directly addresses the issues of holidays abroad. If your child is subject to a Court Order, do make sure you read this carefully and understand any conditions that relate to holidays.

If there is no Court Order in place, the consent of all people with Parental Responsibility is required before removing your child from the jurisdiction, whether it be for a holiday or for a longer period of time.

Depending on the circumstances, a third party may have parental responsibility for a child, such as a grandparent or step-parent, who has an order in their favour that relates to the child.

Should you wish to take your child abroad and have determined that you require consent of the other person with parental responsibility, start the discussion early and ideally before you have booked the holiday you wish to go on so that you are enabling plenty of time for consideration.  You should expect to share the full details of the holiday such as: –

  1. Location
  2. Dates of holiday and when travelling
  3. Travel arrangements
  4. Accommodation details
  5. Information about who else may be joining you.
  6. Emergency contact number/s.

We would always encourage you to obtain any consent recorded in writing.

If you are unable to obtain consent from the other person with parental responsibility, you are able to ask the Court for permission to take your child on holiday. It is worth noting that the Court generally consider holidays with parents to be a positive experience, so are inclined to grant permission, as long as there is no genuine reason that the holiday is not in your child’s best interests. For a holiday to not be in the best interests of a child, would be if it is not compliant with the existing relationship with the other parent. For example, if your child has only stayed with a parent for one night, proposing a two-week holiday may be considered not in the best interest for your child, or if the proposed holiday could place your child at risk of harm.

The law surrounding this topic can be tricky, so if you are unsure at all, please do contact the team at Ringrose Law who would be happy to advise you. Contact one of our offices for further information.

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