You’re packed and ready to go to the airport, the children are excited to be heading to the beach, but is there something you’ve forgotten?
Before taking a child abroad, you must have the permission of the other person with parental responsibility. A child’s mother has this automatically, and a father will have parental responsibility if he is married to the mother at birth or is named on the birth certificate. If you do not have the other parent’s permission, you will need an order of the court, otherwise you may find your summer holiday plans are a wash out.
The only time you will not need permission is if you have a child arrangements order in place that specifically states who the child shall live with. A person with such an order is able to take a child abroad for up to 28 days without the permission of the other person with parental responsibility. Ensure you take a copy of the Order when travelling to avoid difficulties.
If you do not have a child arrangements order stating that the child or children live with you, then you should take a letter when you go abroad which has been signed by the other person with parental responsibility. This should state that you have permission to take the children abroad and include details of the trip such as the dates, location and hotel. If your surname is different to that of the child, then it would be advisable to also take some evidence of your relationship to them such as the birth certificate.
If you are having difficulties in obtaining consent to take your child abroad then you may consider one of the following options:
- Drawing up a parenting plan with the other parent which sets out the arrangements for the holidays in writing. This can help to focus both parents’ minds;
- Corresponding through solicitors;
- Mediation which involves an independent third party helping you to reach an agreement; or
- Making an application to court. You may apply for a Specific Issue Order which will allow the court to deal solely with your request to take the child away. The court will make a decision based on the best interests of the child. Court is always a last resort.
Please feel free to contact a member of the Family Team to discuss your concerns further and the options available for trying to resolve these.
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