Taking a child abroad if you are separated/divorced

If parents are no longer residing together due to separation or divorce, there are legal issues to be considered if one parent wishes to take a child on holiday abroad – or even to relocate to another part of the UK. 

It is always preferable to obtain written permission from the other parent if you want to take a child abroad for a holiday. The legal position if a residence order has been made in your favour, is that the parent wishing to take the child abroad does not need written consent from others who have parental responsibility. Neither do you need permission from the court to take a child away providing the holiday is less than one month. Should the other parent refuse permission unreasonably, an application may be made to the court. If grandparents or other family members want to take a child for a holiday abroad permission will be needed from both parents who have parental responsibility and not just from one parent.

Heidi Cardoza, Family Solicitor, says "Fear of abduction is particularly worrying for families with relatives living abroad. Abduction is the failure to return a child after an agreed period abroad. If you have any concerns about this you should seek legal advice immediately as there are protective measures that can be put in place."

A permanent move abroad with your child requires agreement from the other parent. If this is not given you will need to apply to the court for permission. This is called an application for ‘leave to remove from the jurisdiction.’ The court will consider the impact this will have on the child and also the parent left behind. A move to somewhere else in the UK , maybe some distance from the other parent, is treated the same way by the court – their main concern is the welfare of the child.

Get in touch if you need more information on this topic. For a free initial meeting please call 01202 499255 and Heidi or a member of her team will be happy to discuss any questions you may have.