Thinking of taking your child on holiday abroad in the school holidays?Pepperells
As we venture into the summer holidays, many parents will be thinking about the prospect of a holiday abroad with their children. However, if parents are separated there is always the possibility this could result in disagreement.
In this blog we consider the top tips to facilitate amicable child arrangements to ensure that your children can make the most of their time off school.
Firstly, it is important to consider who has parental responsibility for your child. If you are thinking of taking your child abroad on holiday you will generally need to obtain the express consent of everybody with parental responsibility.
In England and Wales, all mothers have parental responsibility for a child by virtue of being their mother, unless an order of the Court is obtained removing that parental responsibility from them. Fathers do not have the same automatic parental responsibility, but can otherwise acquire the rights by being married to or in a civil partnership with the mother at the time their child is born; or being registered on the child’s birth certificate.
Other parties may obtain parental responsibility for a child by entering in to a written agreement or obtaining an order of the Court. If you are unsure who has parental responsibility for your child, please seek further legal advice.
Is there a Court Order in place?
As stated above, in the majority of cases you will need to obtain the express permission of everybody with parental responsibility for a child before you take them on holiday abroad. It is advisable that this consent is obtained in written form, to avoid complications later down the line. The written document could be as simple as a handwritten letter from one parent to another; although you may wish to consider whether there are any further requirements for the specific country you are travelling to.
That being said, if you already have a Child Arrangement Order which sets out that your child is to ‘Live With’ you, you are entitled to remove the child from the jurisdiction for up to 28 days without the express consent of other people with parental responsibility. In such cases, it may be reasonable for the other people with parental responsibility to expect to be notified of your intended travel dates, where you will be staying and how they can make contact with the child whilst you are away.
What to do if you are unable to agree?
The first step is always to try and reach an agreement between the people with parental responsibility amicably, keeping the child’s best interests at the forefront of any decision making.
If you are unable to do that, you may wish to consider attending mediation or instructing a Solicitor to negotiate an agreement for you, if time permits.
In the event that a planned trip is imminent, or the people with parental responsibility simply cannot reach an agreement, you will need to consider making an application to the Court. The type of application that will need to be made will depend on whether you are the person who wants to take the child on holiday, or the individual who believes it is necessary to prevent a holiday from happening.
If you wish to take your child on holiday but you have not obtained the consent of everybody with parental responsibility and you do not have a ‘Live With’ Order in place, you will need to make an application to the Court for a Specific Issue Order. This is an Order made under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989, which enables the Court to determine a specific issue, such as whether a parent should have permission to remove a child from the jurisdiction.
If you are the other party with parental responsibility, you do not agree with the child being taken child abroad and you believe this will go ahead anyway, you will need to consider making an application to the Court for a Prohibited Steps Order to stop this. This is another Order made under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989 which prevents a named individual from undertaking a certain activity such as removing a child from the country.
Please obtain specific legal advice on the merits of these type of application if required, as the prospect of success will depend on the specific circumstances to each case.
Top 10 tips for arranging a holiday abroad with your child
- Ensure that you consider the suitability of the holiday destination and the duration of your trip, having regard to the child’s age and specific needs
- Talk to everybody with parental responsibility for your child before making concrete plans.
- Get the written permission of each person with parental responsibility for the child.
- Provide the other parent with full details of travel arrangements, including dates and times of travel and accommodation details where appropriate.
- Consider if/how contact arrangements between the child and the other parent can be obtained whilst you are away.
- Ensure that you have the child’s passport in your possession in ample time before the holiday takes place.
- Check any specific entry requirements for your chosen country of travel.
- Make sure the child is included in your travel insurance.
- Though restrictions are mostly check your destinations national requirements in regards to Covid-19 vaccines and eligibility to travel.
- If you have any concerns, please obtain further legal advice before travelling or allowing your child to travel.
For more information, call 01482 326511 or visit www.pepperells.com