Skip to main content

Thinking of taking your children out of the country and on holiday? Or do you need consent first?

More often than not, we get asked by parents who have recently gone through divorce whether they are able to take their child out of the Country on holiday or whether they first need permission from either the Court or the other parent before being able to do so.

Thinking of taking your children out of the country and on holiday? Or do you need consent first?

If you are intending to take your child anywhere out of the United Kingdom, this is classed as taking your child ‘abroad’. Furthermore, the United Kingdom is made up of 4 separate countries, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, all of which have separate legal systems. If you are intending to take your child from one legal system to another, this could also be classed as taking them ‘abroad’. This is why it is extremely important you understand the rules around taking your child abroad especially during summer holidays.

Essentially, anybody that holds parental responsibility has to consent to their child being taken out of the country. It is therefore best practice to make arrangements to take your child out of the country in advance. Taking a child out of the country without consent of all parties is classed as child abduction which is a criminal offence and which carries the risk of a prison sentence.

In certain situations it may therefore be useful to have the consent in writing for example: -

  • If you are travelling with a child whose surname is not the same as yours, you may find it useful to take with you documentation to confirm your relationship with the child such as a birth certificate or a Court Order if there is one in place.

It is usually enough for the parent with parental responsibility to provide a letter giving permission for the other person to take the child out of the country. Requirements can often vary by country, reason for travelling, who they are travelling with and the child’s age. Therefore, it is important to research your destination in advance.

If you have a Court Order such as a ‘Lives With’ Order or ‘Child Arrangements’ Order then you are permitted to take your child abroad on a holiday for up to 28 days without the written consent of the other parent.

What should I do if my ex-partner will not provide Consent?

If parents disagree over taking children out of the country, the Court can be instructed to deal with the matter by way of a prohibited steps application. Unless there are good reasons as to why a child should not be taken out of the country the Court will often see that it is in the best interest of the child i.e. to experience different cultures and to benefit from the experience of travelling and flying.

The benefits in obtaining legal advice

Our Family Lawyers can act as mediators and can ensure you have adequate permission and the correct documents in place to take your child abroad. Our Family Lawyers can also assist in preparing a ‘Permission to take your child abroad’ letter should this be required.

In the event the relationship between the parents is not amicable, our Family Law Department can also assist with making an application to the Court to obtain permission to take your child out of the country.

If you require help with taking your child abroad, please call us on 01754 897150 to speak with a member of the Family Law Department.