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Do I Need Consent To Take My Children On Holiday?

July 14, 2022 Family Law


July 14, 2022  Family Law

One of the questions that we are asked on a regular basis is “Do I need consent to take my children on holiday?”The short answer is that it depends on where you plan to take your children.  There is no specific requirement for consent to be secured from the other parent in order to take your children away on holiday within the U.K. However, you must consent of any person with a Parental Responsibility agreement is required if you wish to take the child abroad and leave the U.K. on holiday.Of course, even if taking the children on holiday within the U.K., the other parent should still obtain permission

In addition, you should consider whether the proposed holiday is going to be taken within a time which is usually provided to you i.e. is it, for example, during an agreed holiday period that will be spent with you during such as the summer holidays? If the other parent does not have parental responsibility agreement then no consent is needed to take the child abroad.

You must get the permission of everyone with parental responsibility for a child or from a court before taking the child abroad.

Taking a child abroad without permission is child abduction . You automatically have parental responsibility if you’re the child’s mother, but you still need the permission of anyone else with parental responsibility before you take the child abroad.

If you do require another person’s consent to take your child out of the jurisdiction (which includes England and Wales, but not Scotland or Northern Ireland) and you fail to do so, the consequences can be very serious, as you could be committing a criminal offence.

If there is a wish to take the child on holiday during a time which he or she would normally spend with the other parent, then discussion and negotiation will need to be undertaken to allow this to occur. 

Consequently, we would generally advise that if you are looking to take children away within the U.K. on holiday you should still run this past the other parent and have a clear idea of when the children are supposed to be with you during that holiday period.

Of course, in usual circumstances, the other parent should be advised where you are going and be provided with any details about the holiday, such as the hotel, self-catering accommodation, contact details etc. in case this is required in the event of an emergency. 

Again, there is no specific legal requirement to provide this information, but it would be reasonable and sensible to provide it.  A common sense approach should be taken and you should ask yourself whether you would wish to receive that information if the other parent was taking the children on holiday. parent wishes

Taking a child abroad

If the children are being taken away for a holiday abroad , say, a two-week holiday, it would also generally be in the best interests of the children for some communication to be maintained with the consenting parent during that period. 

Arrangements should be considered for the likes of telephone, facetime contact and the likes.

Where consent almost certainly will be required is if there is a wish to take the children out of school to attend a holiday.  If one of the parents refuses to give such consent, then a specific issue application would require to be raised in court.  It is, generally, unlikely that a court would allow such a holiday to take place during school term time unless there were specific unusual reasons for that.

As indicated above, consent is required to take children out with the U.K.  Any person who has parental responsibility order is required to provide such consent.  The only alternative to this is where a court order is granted allowing such a holiday to take place. 

If you cannot obtain the consent of anybody who has Parental Rights and Responsibilities agreement, then you require to ask the court for permission to remove them from the jurisdiction. the court generally considers holidays with parents to be a positive experience for a child and is inclined to grant permission, so long as there is no genuine reason that the holiday is not in the child’s best interests.

There can be occasions when it is not appropriate for a holiday to take place for, say, a two-week period.  An example of that would be if a child only ever spends time with a parent for one night at a time and would be uncomfortable being away from the other parents for such a period.

The court rarely supports a holiday during school term time or in a country that the Foreign Office advises against travelling to.


Can a parent take a child on holiday without consent?

If both parents have parental responsibility and there is no Child Arrangements Order in place providing for where the child lives, both parents will need to consent to take the child abroad.

You will either require the permission of another parent or you can request the permission of another parent to write a letter to take your child. In alternative circumstances, a petition to obtain a particular issuance order should apply to the parent whose permission has been denied.

Taking children abroad without permission of the Court where a child arrangements order is in place

Taking children abroad without court permission when a child arrangement order designates a parent as the resident caregiver does not necessitate approval from the other parent or the court.

In such exceptional cases, where the parent is explicitly named in the child arrangements order, they can take the child away without seeking permission, unless there is a court order indicating otherw

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