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Summer Holidays for Separated Parents – Things To Consider Before Booking

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With summer holiday bookings expected to almost reach pre-pandemic levels this year, there is no doubt that many of us are looking forward to a much-needed break this summer.

However, if you are a separated parent hoping to take your children abroad, there are additional factors you will need to consider before boarding that plane to prevent any unforeseen issues arising.

First and foremost, you must get permission from everyone with parental responsibility for a child before taking them abroad. Failure to do so risks committing the offence of ‘child abduction’.

You automatically have parental responsibility if you are the child’s mother, however, you will still need the permission of anyone else with parental responsibility before taking the child abroad.

A letter from the person with parental responsibility for the child is usually sufficient. We would also recommend that they provide their contact details in the letter and details about the trip, just in case there are any questions raised at Passport Control.

It may also be advisable to have evidence of your relationship with the child (for example, a birth or adoption certificate) and a divorce or marriage certificate if you are a single parent, but your family name is different from the child’s.

If you have a Child Arrangements Order in place, and that Order provides that the child is to live with you, then you are permitted to take that child out of the country for up to 28 days without permission from another party. However, if you intend to travel abroad with your child for longer than 28 days, the remainder of the advice in this article applies.

Unfortunately, some people find themselves in a situation where they want to take their children on holiday, but consent from the other parent is not forthcoming. If that is the case, you may need to make an application to the Court for a Specific Issue Order.

In considering the application, the Court will take into account the welfare of the child and the destination. While such an application can be made on an urgent basis, you should act promptly, particularly due to delays in the Court system, as the Court will need to list the matter for a hearing prior to the proposed departure date.

To ensure that you will not have any problems, we recommend:

  1. Start discussing arrangements early. This will give you plenty of opportunity to resolve any concerns the other party may have.
  2. Check the entry requirements of the destination you will be travelling to. Details of the relevant embassy should be easily available online.
  3. Be transparent about arrangements for the holidays with the other parent, for example providing information as to hotels, travel times, and emergency contact numbers to reduce the possibility of concern.
  4. Seek legal assistance in good time should you encounter any problems.

If you encounter or anticipate any problems when looking to travel abroad, the family team here at Wilson Browne Solicitors can help. Contact us today for a free consultation on 0800 088 6004.


Jessica Leech


Jessica Leech


Jessica is a Solicitor with the Family Team in our Northampton office.