The festive season is fast approaching and many families choose to jet away over the Christmas holidays. However not many people are aware that if you are separated or divorced and wish to take your children on holiday, even if it is during your time with the children, you need the consent of the other parent to travel abroad.
If, however, you have a Residence Order or Child Arrangements Order confirming that the children reside with you, you can take the children out of the UK for up to 28 days without the consent of the other parent.
It is still good practice to obtain consent, even though it is not technically needed, to avoid potential last minute difficulties.
Parents as holders of Parental Responsibility have a duty to consult each other and agree important decisions regarding their children’s lives.
Day to day decisions can be determined by the parent caring for the children without consultation with the other parent.
Consent to take the children on holiday falls somewhere between the two. It is the duty of the parent seeking to go on holiday with the children to notify the other parent and obtain their consent to take the children abroad, otherwise, technically, the parent travelling may commit the offence of child abduction.
If a parent refuses to provide consent, then it will be necessary to apply to the Court for a Specific Issue Order to allow the children to travel abroad. In all cases the Court’s concern is the welfare of the children and if you are opposing a holiday, you need to have very valid reasons for doing so.
The advice is to provide the other parent with all the details of the holiday to include dates of travel, destination and address of residence abroad and get their consent in writing.
Ensure that you take such correspondence with you when travelling, it could be as vital as your passport and ticket!
Harjit Rait is an Associate Solicitor with LCF Law.
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