Taking children abroad following separation or divorce

Many divorced or separated parents do not realise that taking your children abroad without permission from the other parent is considered abduction.

If parental responsibility has been awarded to both parents, then written consent must be obtained from the other parent in order to take a child out of the UK.

The only circumstances when permission is not needed are:
• Where only one parent has parental responsibility.
• Where there is a Child Arrangement Order, which provides for the child to live with one parent that parent can take the child abroad without written consent from the other parent for up to 28 days.
• If grandparents or other family members / third parties have a Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardianship Order.

Following the emotional turmoil of separation it is understandable that all sorts of emotions are raised when you hear that your ex partner wants to take your child abroad. There are a few practical steps which may help:
• Discuss plans for an overseas holiday as soon as possible, ideally before the holiday is booked.
• Agree to share holiday details such as flight information, any itinerary, and the name, phone number and address of the accommodation. Also provide details of anyone else who will be joining the child on holiday.
• Ensure that you have written consent from the other parent, keep this safe and accessible.
• Make sure everyone has contact details for the child’s doctor.
• Provide details of your child’s medical insurance cover.
• Make sure there are arrangements agreed, before the trip, for your child to be able to maintain contact with their other parent whilst on the trip.

It is always better to try to discuss holiday arrangements yourselves, open communication will prevent misunderstandings or misplaced fears of possible child abduction.

If permission is refused, you can make an application to the court which is usually granted unless there are concerns about a child not being returned. If you are worried about your child being taken abroad you can apply to the Family Court for a Prohibited Steps Order, which if granted will prevent the foreign trip taking place.

We have a highly experienced team dealing with a wide range of issues relating to children both during and after divorce.

With easily accessible offices in Bolton and Blackburn we represent clients throughout the North West, whether it is advice on how much time the children will spend with each parent after a separation or divorce, child relocation law, child abduction or maintenance we are here to help you find solutions that work for you and your family.

For professional, confidential advice contact us on 01204 527777 / 01254 268790 or by email at enquiries@kbl.co.uk.