Do I need my ex-partner's permission to take my child on holiday abroad?
Many children are now used to going abroad on holiday. But if you are separated, what are the rules for taking children abroad?
Any person who is named in a Child Arrangements Order (or Residence Order) can take a child outside of England and Wales for up to 28 days without permission from the other parent, unless the holiday will conflict with time that an order says the other parent should have with a child (such as their weekend) and if so, permission should be sought. If the intended period of travel is longer than 28 days then permission from everyone with parental responsibility or alternatively authority from the Family Court is required.
If you are not named in a Child Arrangements Order (or formerly a Residence Order) as the parent with whom a child lives, you will need the permission of the child's other parent, or alternatively authority from the Family Court, in order to take your child out of the jurisdiction of England and Wales.
Even if permission or authority is not required, it is always advisable to advise the other parent of any planned holidays with plenty of notice to avoid unnecessary conflict. It is also reasonable to provide details of any travel arrangements and accommodation as a matter of courtesy and good practice, as in most cases reciprocity would be expected from the other parent.
If grandparents and other family members want to take a child abroad, permission will be needed from both parents with parental responsibility and not just from one parent.
If permission is required but is not forthcoming, then an application can be made to the Family Court for a Specific Issue Order, asking the Court to give authority to remove the child from England and Wales for the purposes of the proposed holiday.
When considering an application for permission to do so, the Court's paramount consideration will be the child's welfare. A checklist of factors relating to welfare is used when reaching a decision.
An application to the Court is an expensive and time-consuming process. If you find yourself in this situation, trying to reach an agreement through discussions in mediation, or through negotiations, may instead be an altogether more constructive way of approaching the issue.