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, consent of any person with Parental Rights and Responsibilities is required if you wish to take children out of the U.K. on holiday.
Of course, even if taking the children on holiday within the U.K., the other parent should still be advised. 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 there is a wish to take a 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 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.
If the children are being taken away for, 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 other 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 Rights and Responsibilities 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, then you require to ask the court for permission to remove them from the jurisdiction. Generally, it is rare for courts to prevent parents from taking children on holidays outwith the U.K. as holidays are regarded as positive experiences, provided they are to reasonable destinations and for reasonable periods of time.
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 has only ever stayed with a parent for one night at a time and would be uncomfortable being away from the other parent 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.
For further information please contact us at Jones Whyte LLP via our online contact form 0330 175 1234 and email@example.com.
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