Family & Divorce

7 things separated parents need to know about taking children on holiday

Don’t make your holiday move stressful than it needs to be by arguing over arrangements for your children.

26 Jul 2022

Team name
Sally Ward

Sally Ward

With news of flights being cancelled, queues to get through the tunnel and train strikes, travelling abroad seems to be getting more stressful than ever. Don’t make your holiday move stressful than it needs to be by arguing over arrangements for your children. To take some of the stress out of those arrangements here are points you need to know:

  1. You need the other parent’s consent to take a child abroad. Abroad includes Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire as they are not part of the jurisdiction of England and Wales. The only exceptions to this are:
    1. The other parent does not have parental responsibility for your child or children
    2. You have a court order that states that your child or children is to live with you, in which case you can take them abroad for a holiday for up to a month without the other parent’s consent
    3. You have a court order that specifically states that you can take your child abroad.
  2. It is a criminal offence of child abduction to take a child abroad without the other parent’s, or anyone else with parental responsibility, consent or a court order.
  3. It is best to talk to the other parent about your holiday plans as far in advance of the holiday as possible. This will give you time to agree arrangements for your holiday, the other parent’s holiday and handing over passports. If you cannot agree on everything, you will have time to seek advice.
  4. Consider using a mediator to agree on holiday arrangements.
  5. Whether you have agreed arrangements or not, it is a good idea to provide the other parent with essential information about your holiday including dates and times of travel, flight numbers and details about your destination and accommodation.
  6. Don’t leave it until the last minute to seek legal advice. If the holiday is imminent, you can apply for an order to be made urgently but it is best to give us as much time as possible to prepare your application.
  7. You can apply for a specific issue order from the court for the return of passports or permission to take your child abroad. You can apply for a prohibited steps order preventing the other parent from taking the child abroad.

Happy holidays.

M&P Commentary

Sally Ward, Head of the Family team at Mullis & Peake, said:

“Holidays are meant to be a chance to have fun and relax; following these guidelines will help you and your children get the most of your time together.”


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