The long summer break is the perfect time for a parent to take their children away for a relaxing holiday, whether it be a domestic staycation or the pursuit of sunshine abroad. Taking your children away for a few days may seem harmless, but separated or divorced parents may need to take some additional steps to ensure that everyone is kept in the loop and that they feel fully aware of the holiday plans.
It is a legal requirement to obtain the consent of everyone with parental responsibility before you take your children out of England and Wales. Some parents might already have a court (child arrangements) order in place, setting out the arrangements for the care of their children in a clear and structured way. These orders can be a useful tool for parents because they provide certainty for managing holiday periods, such as when a parent intends to take their child away and any arrangements for the provision of passports or other relevant travel documents. Such an order may include directions for providing the other parent with flight or transportation details, accommodation information and emergency contact details. Even if there is no order in place, it is a good idea to get into the habit of providing these details anyway as it is much more likely to be reciprocated.
If you have an order which states that your children live with you, you will only legally require consent if you plan to take your children away for longer than 28 days. However, it is always best to inform the other parent (or anyone else with parental responsibility for the children) ahead of time, and in each case, to avoid any unnecessary arguments or conflict which could arise.
If you have any concerns that your child(ren)’s other parent might be planning to take them away without your consent, there are steps you can take to prevent them from doing so. A prohibited steps order can be obtained from the court, preventing a party from removing a child from England and Wales. These orders can be obtained on an emergency basis if required and without prior warning being given to the other parent. An application for this type of order must only be made if there are genuine concerns a removal is about to take place. In these circumstances you should act quickly and remember that we are on hand to help.
The summer holidays should be a fun and enjoyable time for families, so if you have any concerns about how a holiday abroad might affect the arrangements in place for your children, please get in touch with us. We would be more than happy to talk you through the best way to manage your plans to prevent any potential pitfalls so you can enjoy a stress-free summer.
These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.