Taking your child out of the country on holiday – can you do it?
With the school summer holidays fast approaching, many families are considering booking a trip abroad. However, there is much to think about over and above the actual booking of the holiday.
Determining who has parental responsibility is key. Parental responsibility is all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent has in relation to their child. If both parents have parental responsibility and there are no child arrangements orders or any restrictions in place, then neither parent can take their child abroad without the written consent of the other parent and any other party e.g. a grandparent, who has parental responsibility. If they refuse, then it will be necessary to apply to the Court for permission to travel abroad with your child.
However, if you have a child arrangements order in place which states that your child is to live with you, then you can take your child abroad for a period of less than one month without such permission.
If, however, you are a parent who has parental responsibility for your child but you are not named as a person with whom your child is to live in a child arrangements order and you take your child abroad without consent or permission, that would be a wrongful removal. The parent left behind could bring an application to the Court for the return of the child.
If a parent with parental responsibility is not prepared to consent to the other parent taking the child abroad on holiday then that parent will need to apply to the Court for a specific issues order. In considering such an application the Court will have regard to amongst other factors, the welfare of the child, their wishes and feelings, the likely effect on the child of any change in his or her circumstances and the child’s physical emotional and educational needs.
Such applications can be costly and take some time so it is very important to plan ahead and ideally, obtain the written consent of the other parent/person with parental responsibility well in advance of any proposed holiday.
If one parent has no intention of obtaining your consent to take your child on holiday and you do have parental responsibility for your child and there is no child arrangements order in place then you will need to apply to the Court for a prohibited steps order. This is an order preventing some action, in this case, preventing your former partner from taking your child abroad on holiday. The Judge will, when considering any such application, have regard to the same factors when a specific issue order is requested, as referred to above.
If you are travelling abroad with your child, you should take with you a copy of the other parent’s written consent, a copy of any child arrangements order, a copy of your child’s birth certificate and if your child has a different surname from you, a copy of your birth certificate.
If you require any legal advice or assistance in respect of the issues raised here please do not hesitate to contact Rachel at RJT Solicitors on 01942 409154.