Taking a child abroad if you are separated/divorced

If parents are no longer living together due to separation or divorce, there are legal issues to consider if one parent wishes to take a child on holiday abroad – or even to relocate to another area.

It is always preferable to obtain written permission from everyone with parental responsibility if you want to take a child abroad for a holiday.

The legal position is that you can take a child abroad for 28 days without getting permission, if a Child Arrangements Order says that the child must live with you. This is unless a court order says that you can’t.

Should a person with parental responsibility refuse permission unreasonably, an application may be made to the court.

Holidays with grandparents or other relatives

If grandparents or other family members want to take a child for a holiday abroad, permission will be needed from everyone with parental responsibility.


Amy Langlois, Family Solicitor, says “Fear of abduction is particularly worrying for families with relatives living abroad. Abduction is defined as the act of taking somebody away illegally. If you have any concerns about this you should seek advice from a solicitor immediately, as there are protective measures that we can put in place.”.

Taking the child to live abroad

A permanent move abroad with your child requires agreement from everyone with parental responsibility. If this is not given, you must 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.

Our Family Team are happy to discuss any issues that this raises for you. If you have any questions, you only have to ask us at Frettens. Please call 01202 499255 and Amy or a member of her team will be happy to chat about your situation and your particular requirements.