Do I need permission to take my child on holiday?
With the schools broken up for the summer, many parents are now thinking about taking their children on foreign holidays. However, this can cause issues in some families where the parents are no longer together, as the parent travelling with the child will often need to obtain the consent of the other parent to take the child abroad. Whether consent of those with ‘parental responsibility’ is needed will depend on whether any court orders are already in place.
Where there is a Court Order in place
Any parent who is named in the court order as having the the child live with them, also known as a “Live With” Child Arrangements Order, can take the child abroad (outside of England and Wales) for up to 28 days without the consent of the other parties with parental responsibility. It is however always advisable to obtain their consent when doing so and to provide flight details and details of where the child will be staying.
The court will sometimes make a Prohibited Steps Order or a Specific Issue Order that directly addresses travel and holidays. It is important that all orders are followed and if an order prevents a parent from travelling with a child, travel must not take place.
Where there is no Court Order in place
The consent of every person with parental responsibility will be required before the child can be taken out of England and Wales.
The mother of a child always has parental responsibility, as does anyone who is named on the child’s birth certificate or was married to the mother when the child was born. Parental responsibility can also be obtained by court order or by entering into a parental responsibility agreement with the child’s mother.
It is very important that all those with parental responsibility consent to the child being removed from England and Wales. Without permission you would be at risk of committing child abduction which is a criminal offence.
How can I get permission to take my child on holiday?
If permission is required it is always advisable to obtain this consent in writing. Many countries will ask questions of parents when crossing foreign borders, so it is always advisable to take a copy of the child’s birth certificate or any court orders that demonstrate your relationship with the child. If your name has changed since the order was made or since you were named on the birth certificate it is also advisable to bring evidence of the change of name.
What can I do if I do not have permission to take my child on holiday?
If permission to take your child on holiday is refused you can make an application to the court for permission to do so.
The court will then establish whether they believe the holiday is in the best interests of the child. The court will very rarely support holidays that take place during school term time or to a country that is considered dangerous, but generally does view holidays as being a positive experience and will only refuse permission if there are specific and compelling reasons as to why permission should not be granted.
Can my child travel with someone who does not have parental responsibility?
If your child is travelling with someone who does not have parental responsibility it is always advisable to get the written consent of each person with parental responsibility.