Planning a Family Holiday?

03 Jan 2019

With the excitement (and stresses) of Christmas over, we start to look forward to the lighter evenings and warmer days of summer. This is the time when we also start thinking about booking a holiday.

What most separated parents do not realise however, is that it is a criminal offence to take a child out of the Country, for any period of time, without having first obtained the written consent of the other parent or the Court’s permission to do so. The only exception to this is if the parent seeking to take the child abroad already has the benefit of an Order which states that the child lives with them. In those circumstances, that parent is able to remove the child from the Country for up to one month without first having to obtain the other parent’s consent.

That is not to say however, that the other parent should not be consulted. Both parents have a right to know if their child is being taken out of the Country and in most circumstances, the holiday is likely to have an impact on the time that the child would otherwise be spending with the other parent.

Even when a “live with” Order exists, it remains open to either parent to object to a proposed trip abroad if there are concerns for the child’s welfare were they to travel abroad.

It is therefore important that, before any holidays are booked and paid for, the proposed trip is discussed between the parents and where necessary, the written consent is obtained.

Any objection or concerns with reference to the proposed trip should be fully set out so that these can be considered and, where possible, dealt with. In many circumstances, the provision of full details of the holiday including the name, address and telephone number for the accommodation; flight or ferry details and emergency contact information for the parent wishing to take the child on the holiday will relieve most concerns.

If written consent is still not forthcoming, solicitors or mediators can assist in identifying the issues and attempting to resolve them for the benefit of the family. Ultimately, if an agreement cannot be reached, consideration may need to be given to an application to Court for a Specific Issue Order enabling the parent to take the child abroad for a holiday, or for a Prohibited Steps Order, seeking to prevent the child from being removed.

Our Family Law solicitors are among the best in the South. If you have a legal matter that requires the expertise of one of our family lawyers, contact us today on 0800 2800 421. We have law offices in Salisbury, Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole and Winchester to meet your requirements.