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Holidays for Separated Parents

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

With restrictions easing after lockdown, many people are booking holidays later than usual this year

If you are a separated parent, you may be looking at taking your children abroad in the October half term holiday or at Christmas. If so, you may not be aware that without permission from all people who have parental responsibility, taking your child abroad could be classified as child abduction. To avoid any unforeseen issues for your family holiday, read on…

Many people often only become aware of any rules when they travel to a country where they need visas, especially when the parent travelling with the child has a different surname.

Many say they have already travelled abroad to countries such as Spain and France with no problems at all. However, even in travelling to and from popular holiday destinations in Europe, there is a risk that problems will arise, particularly as the Brexit transition period ends on 31st December 2020, which is likely to mean greater scrutiny by the European country you are travelling to.

If you separated on amicable terms it may be that there are no court orders in place and your former partner is happy for you to take your children abroad. If this is the case then it is still advisable to obtain a letter from them giving permission and providing their contact details, just in case there are any questions asked at passport control.

Alternatively, you may have been to court to finalise contact arrangements. If there is a child arrangements order in place and it states 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 any consent. If you intend to travel abroad with your child for longer than this, the paragraphs above and below will still apply.

You may be in a situation where you want to take your children on holiday but consent from the other parent is not forthcoming. If this is the case, then you may need to make a specific issue application to the court for permission.

The courts will consider the welfare of the child and the destination. Whilst such an application can be made on an urgent basis, you should act promptly, particularly due to delays in the court system due to coronavirus, as the court will need to list the matter for a hearing prior to the proposed departure date.

How you can ensure that you will not have any problems:

Communicate with your former partner in advance so you are aware if there are going to be any issues.

Check the entry requirements to the destination you’re travelling to – details of the relevant embassy should be easily available online.

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.