Taking children on holiday when separated

8th August 2023

Taking children on holiday when separated

With the school holidays underway, many parents are considering exciting trips abroad with their children. While holidays are a wonderful opportunity for quality family time, travelling with children can be more complicated, especially for separated parents.

It’s important to understand that each person with Parental Responsibility for the child must agree to them going abroad. In many cases, this is not an issue, where the separated parents can agree the holiday arrangements.  To avoid any last-minute complications and potential conflicts, it’s best to plan ahead and reach an agreement about holiday plans abroad, well in advance. Putting this consent in writing is advisable, as proof could be asked for at the airport or upon entry into another country.

If the other parent refuses to give their permission for your child to travel abroad with you, you will need to apply for a Court Order approving your travel plans. You would not need to do this if you have a Child Arrangements Order specifying that the child should live with you, and you are not taking them abroad for more than a month.

If a court application has to be made, the Judge will carefully evaluate the positions of both parents. Ultimately, the court is tasked with striking a balance between the benefits to the child of a foreign holiday, which may involve meeting extended family members and exploring their cultural heritage, and the potential risks associated with non-return.  If a court order is made, then you should take a copy of that order with you, when you are travelling.  It is worth bearing in mind that whilst you can ask the Court to deal with this urgently, it can take several weeks for an application to be listed and decided upon by a court – so factor that into your timescales for booking a holiday, if the other parent is not prepared to agree to the travel on a voluntary basis.

How can our family lawyers help you with divorce or separation?

If you need advice in relation to taking you child on holiday as a separated parent, our family team can assist you.

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