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Can I take my child on holiday abroad without my former partner’s consent?

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With the school summer holidays fast approaching, it is important for separated parents to make holiday arrangements for their children as soon as possible as they can often be a source of contention for separated couples, particularly if they involve overseas travel.

Court orders and parental responsibility

If parents do not already have a court order in relation to arrangements for their children, and both parents have parental responsibility, neither parent can take the children out of the UK for a holiday without the written consent of the other parent.

If a court order is already in place, then the parent who the children live with can legally take them out of the UK for a period of up to one month for a holiday without the consent of the other parent, although it’s always best to seek the other parent’s consent.

When children travel abroad, the other parent should be given flight details, as well as the accommodation address and a contact number.

Consent denied

If you wish to take your children out of the UK and their other parent objects, it is then best to seek legal advice as soon as possible, ideally before arrangements are made.

You may decide to make an application for a specific issue order to seek the court’s permission to travel. If appropriate, and safe, arrangements are made for travel and accommodation, then it is likely that the court would give permission.

However, if the other parent had good reason for concern, the arrangements were not appropriate or posed any risk to the children, or if there is evidence that the children would be taken abroad permanently, then the court is likely to refuse permission.

As with all issues relating to the care of children, it’s desirable to make arrangements by agreement with your former spouse or partner. If you are experiencing difficulties in reaching an agreement with your ex-partner about holiday arrangements for your children, then it is important that you seek the advice of a specialist family solicitor.

For additional information on taking your child abroad or for advice on any family law matter, contact divorce and family solicitor Janine Hutson on 01772 258321. Harrison Drury have a team of family lawyers in Preston, Lancaster, Kendal, Garstang and Clitheroe.


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