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Top tips when considering taking your child abroad

Posted on 20th October 2022 in Family Law

Posted by

Rachael Jones

Top tips when considering taking your child abroad

If parents are separated there is a possibility that a holiday abroad with their children could result in disagreement. So what are the top things to consider to facilitate amicable child arrangements.


  1. Parental Responsibility
  2. Existing Court Orders
  3. Reaching an Agreement
  4. Other Options
  5. Covid-19



1. Parental Responsibility

  • It is important to consider whether you will need to obtain consent of the other child’s parent, or anyone else with parental responsibility, before you start booking.
  • Mother’s automatically have parental responsibility.
  • Father’s will only automatically have parental responsibility if they are married to, or in a civil partnership with, the mother when the child is born.
  • Unmarried fathers can acquire parental responsibility by:
    • marrying or becoming a civil partner of the child’s mother,
    • becoming registered as the child’s father on the birth certificate,
    • entering into a parental responsibility agreement,
    • applying to court for a parental responsibility order, or
    • being formally appointed as a guardian.
  • Same-sex partners will both have parental responsibility if they were married or civil partners at the time of the treatment, e.g. donor insemination or fertility treatment.
  • If same-sex partners are not civil partners or are not married, the second parent can acquire parental responsibility, similarly to unmarried fathers, by:
    • Entering into a parental responsibility agreement, or
    • Marrying or becoming a civil partner of the other parent and making an agreement or jointly registering at birth.



2. Existing Court Orders

  • If you are listed in a Child Arrangements Order as the person the child lives with, you can legally take the child abroad for up to 28 days in any one year without permission of any other person with parental responsibility.
  • However, it would be reasonable to notify the other person of your intended travel dates, details of where you are staying, and how contact can be made with the child while you are away.
  • If there is no such order in place, you cannot take your child out of the country legally without permission of those with parental responsibility. This is child abduction.
  • All those people with parental responsibility must provide consent. See below for tips on doing this.



3. Reaching an Agreement

  • It is always advisable to try and reach agreement through discussions or mediation.
  • If all people with parental responsibility consent, it is best to put this in writing. For example, a letter.
  • It is worth checking whether the country you intend to travel to has any specific legal requirements.



4. Other Options

  • If you are unable to mutually agree, an application to Court may be necessary to seek permission.
  • The Court’s primary consideration will be whether travelling abroad is in the child’s best interests, taking account of the specific circumstances.
  • Generally, the Court will consider it in the child’s best interests to travel abroad, but there are situations where permission may be refused. For example, where a parent is intending to travel to a politically unstable country.



5. Covid-19

  • Although restrictions are easing, it is essential to check your destination country’s requirements in respect of Covid-19 vaccines and eligibility to travel.



Find out more

It is important that steps are taken to reach an agreement with plenty of time before the holiday is planned. If you are planning to take your child abroad and would like help and advice, then please contact our dedicated Family Law team. To contact them today fill in our contact form or call us directly.

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