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Holiday rights for separated parents

Holiday rights for separated parents - Wansbroughs Solicitors

As half-term approaches and the weather cools, many parents will be looking forward to a well-needed break and a holiday overseas.  Whilst holiday preparations are certainly exciting, it is firstly important that separated parents are aware of their legal entitlement to travel with their children.

Travelling abroad when there are no existing Court Orders in place
If the Court have not made any orders regarding the living arrangements of the children and both parents have parental responsibility, neither parent should take their children abroad without the consent of the other parent or an order from the Court.  A parent who travels without the necessary consent or order may find themselves guilty of a criminal offence under the Child Abduction Act.

Travelling abroad when there is a Child Arrangements Order in place
A Child Arrangements Order can regulate which parent a child lives with and how much time they spend with the other parent.  Any parent who benefits from a ‘lives with’ order may take any child named in the Child Arrangements Order abroad for up to 28 days without the consent of the other parent.  Any other parent named in the order will still need to obtain the permission of the other parent or the Court.

What if one parent is unreasonably withholding consent to travel abroad?
A parent may need to apply to Court to seek permission to take their child abroad if they cannot obtain permission from the other parent.  This is known as a Specific Issue Order.  The Court will make a decision based on the welfare of the child.  The Court will often find that a short break is in the best interest of the child and permission to travel will be granted.  There will of course be some occasions when the Court will not deem travel safe or appropriate.  It will always depend on the individual circumstances of each case.

What if there are concerns about the child being taken abroad?
There may be a good reason for a parent to be concerned about a child being taken abroad.  The country in question may not be particularly safe or there may be concerns about the child not being returned home. If a parent objects to their child being taken abroad, they should consider making an application to Court to prevent this from happening.  This is known as a Prohibited Steps Order.  The Court will again, make a decision based on the welfare of the child and will prohibit any trip that is deemed to be contrary to the child’s best interests.

How Wansbroughs can help
Agreeing holiday plans can be difficult, particularly when there is tension between the parents.  An application to Court may be needed when consent from the other parent cannot be obtained or if a parent is concerned that a trip may take place in absence of their consent.  The Family team at Wansbroughs can advise you in respect of either matter, however, our first step will always be to try to find a sensible way forward outside of Court proceedings.

The Family team at Wansbroughs are well equipped to advise on all children law matters including travelling abroad.  If you would like further information or assistance, we offer a free 30 minute consultation to all new enquiries.  Please call 01380 733300 or email family@wansbroughs.com