Can I take my child on holiday?
With the school holidays around the corner, Sue Baker has put together this short guide for separated parents on taking their child on holiday abroad.
Do I need the other parent’s consent to take my child on holiday under English and Welsh Law?
If a Child Arrangements Order was put in place by the court following your separation, the order will set out that the child lives with one parent and spends time with the other parent, or that the child lives with both parents.
The parent who is named in the Child Arrangements Order as the parent with whom the child lives with, is permitted to take the child on holiday outside of the UK for a period of up to one month without the permission of the other parent. (That being said, it is always advisable to ask the other parent to sign a letter of consent.)
The parent who is named in the Child Arrangements Order as the parent with whom the child spends time with/has contact with, is not permitted to take the child outside of the UK without the consent of the parent with whom the child lives with. Therefore, you must obtain a letter of consent from the other parent before travelling.
If there is no Child Arrangements Order in place, technically speaking under the Children Act 1989 either parent can take their child abroad on holiday. However, this is strongly inadvisable as you may be accused of child abduction and so you should seek the other parent’s written consent.
Obtaining a letter of consent from the other parent
The most trusted form of a letter of consent is a letter that has been notarised. Michelle Mann, a Partner, is a Notary Public and you can contact her via her PA Kate Kilbane if you would like more advice:
Email: [email protected]
Phone number: 0118 951 6254
What can I do if the other parent will not give their consent?
If the other parent will not sign a letter of consent to the holiday, you may need to apply to the court for a Specific Issue Order in order for the holiday to go ahead.
The family team at Field Seymour Parkes can assist you with your application. In the first instance please contact Sue Baker, a Partner in the Family team:
Email: [email protected]
Phone number: 0118 951 6302
What if I do not want the other parent to take my child on holiday?
If you want to stop the other parent from taking your child on holiday, you may be able to apply to the court for a Prohibited Steps Order.
The court will consider whether the holiday is in the best interests of the child, and may prevent the holiday from going ahead if it has concerns. For example, if there is a real risk that the child will not be returned to the UK, or if there are safety concerns.
The family team at Field Seymour Parkes can also assist you with this.
Check the rules in the country you are travelling to
Parents should be aware that even if you are permitted to take your child on holiday under English and Welsh law, some countries require parents travelling with children to produce certain documents in order to enter the country.
This might include:
- your child’s birth certificate;
- evidence of your parenthood if you are not named on your child’s birth certificate;
- a notarised letter of consent from the other parent;
- the other parent’s contact details and a photocopy of the other parent’s passport;
The requirements are country-specific and you should always contact the embassy of the country you are travelling to for advice before you travel, and seek legal advice if you have any concerns.
In summary, even if you are legally allowed to take your child outside of the UK without the consent of your child’s other parent under English and Welsh law, you should carefully check the rules of the country you are travelling to and the safest course of action is to carry a notarised written letter of consent from the other parent.