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Don’t Get Caught in a Sun Trap – Issues Facing Separated Parents Travelling With Children
10th July, 2018
The run-up to a holiday abroad can be stressful, especially when travelling with children. Laura Clay-Harrisconsiders the additional steps separated parents need to take when taking children abroad.
With the summer holidays approaching, many parents turn their thoughts to trips abroad with the children. However, before booking holidays it is important to consider whether you need permission to take your child abroad.
If you do not have a court order in place in relation to where the children live and spend time, then either parent is able to take the children abroad as long as they have the permission of everyone who has parental responsibility for the children. It is important to obtain this permission before booking, as if you do not get the consent, you may be forced to cancel the holiday.
A person has parental responsibility for a child if they are the child’s mother, or the father and named on the birth certificate (and the child was born after 2003) or married to the child’s mother at the time of the birth of the child. There are other ways of obtaining parental responsibility, through a Parental Responsibility agreement or Order, or if the parents were in a civil partnership at the time of the treatment. There are also times where a member of the child’s extended family can have parental responsibility or another person associated with the child. If you have any doubt about who might have parental responsibility, any member of our family team would be happy to discuss this with you.
It is advisable to obtain the permission of everyone with parental responsibility in writing. This does not need to be a formal letter, but can be a text or email, as long as the meaning is clear. Depending on where you are travelling to, you may be asked by border control to provide evidence the other parent has consented (or the court has made an order allowing you to remove the children from the jurisdiction).
When asking for permission to take a child abroad, you should consider giving the details of your holiday to the person giving permission. This can include flight times/numbers and the address of the accommodation you will be staying in. If the person giving permission is concerned about you taking the children abroad, this can provide reassurance. Ideally, this information will be provided as early as possible, before booking, to give time for consideration.
If you have a court order in place that provides for the children to live with you, you are able to take the children abroad for up to 28 days without the permission of others with parental responsibility. If the court order provides for the children to spend time with you, but not live with you, you still need to seek permission from everyone with parental responsibility.
In the event that you do not obtain the permission of everyone with parental responsibility to take the children abroad, you should consider:
1. Making an application to the court for a Specific Issue Order. The court will consider whether you should have permission to take the children abroad. If granted, this Order will override any objection from others with parental responsibility of the child.
2. Changing your arrangements. It may be that the person giving permission is concerned about the location of your holiday or not in agreement to the dates you are proposing. It may be worth discussing if any alterations to the proposed holiday would change their mind.
3. Making an application for a Child Arrangements Order, to ask the court to consider the overall arrangements in place for the children, including the issue of holidays.
If you require any further information or advice in relation to taking children abroad, please contact a member of our Family team who can advise you further.
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