With the Christmas school holidays quickly approaching, as the pre-eminent child law advice solicitor in Guildford, we are seeing an increase in queries relating to the position of parents on taking their children away on holidays, often without the consent of the other parent.
So what are the rules regarding taking your own children away on a holiday, in England and Wales, without the other parent’s consent?
As long as you have parental responsibility and there is no court order prohibiting you from taking the children away on holiday, then there is nothing preventing you from doing so – without the permission of the other parent, or parties, with parental responsibility. However if there is a Child Arrangements Order in place things are slightly different, in that if contact is due to take place when you are planning to take the children away, this must still be adhered to. Simply put, you must make the child/children available for the contact, if it is due to take place when you plan to be away, unless you can come to a mutually agreed alternative arrangement. Whilst permission is not required (where no child arrangements order is in place) it is good practise, not to mention good parenting, to obtain written permission anyway and to advise the other parent of your intentions in a timely manner.
What are the rules if you wish to take your children abroad?
If you wish to holiday outside of England and Wales then you will require written permission from all parties with parental responsibility for the child/children, or the permission of the court.
If you have a Child Arrangements Order in place, granted by the court, then you are entitled to take the child/children out of the country, for a maximum period of 28 days, without the consent of any other party with parental responsibility. The exception to this is where there is a Prohibited Steps Order in place, which prevents the removal of the child from the area. Again, it is good parenting to acquire written consent as a matter of courtesy and to keep the other parent informed of your plans in a timely manner. If you remove the child from the UK without permission from all parties with parental responsibility, then this is classed as child abduction and you will face severe consequences, which can include limiting your contact in the future. Our advice will always be – don’t do it!
Unfortunately it is all too common that we see parents engaged in a bitter divorce, or separation, arguing between themselves over holidays etc. and for one of the parent’s to withold consent for their child to be taken on a holiday with the other parent. If this is the case, then you will be required to go to the court to obtain permission to take the child/children away for a short period of time. This will always be our last option with you as we prefer to mediate between you to find a mutually agreeable conclusion, where the child’s best interests can be served. We use our unique legal and psychological approach to enable both parents to reach a point, where they can stop any combative behaviour towards each other and are able to negotiate any future decisions, involving the children, in a civil manner. It is also a legal requirement that you attend mediation prior to starting court proceedings. As experienced child law advice lawyers in Guildford, we will always talk you through all options open to you, prior to having to make any decisions which could potentially have consequences, even years down the road.
If you do not have parental responsibility for your child then you will require consent from all parties that do hold it. Here at Gregorian Emerson Family Law Solicitors we can help you with all aspects of your case and provide you with the best possible advice, enabling you to make informed decisions about both your own and your children’s futures.
When obtaining consent to take a child/children away, either within the UK or abroad, written consent is the best possible option. This can simply be a letter giving your details and relationship to the child and a written statement that you consent to the trip between certain dates. The parent taking the child may be asked to produce this during their trip so contact details are also useful on here too.
For any further information on Child law advice Guildford, please feel free to give us a call on 01483 826470, where we will happily go through all the options available to you for your own individual case. We have many years of expertise in this field and can help you to reach a satisfactory conclusion, which works for both you and your children.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Based in Guildford and Cobham, Surrey Central London, we can help you. If you have a family dispute that needs resolving then don't hesitate to get in touch and let us help you through the process.