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Passports? Check! Suncream? Check! Parental Permission…?

Posted: 18-07-2018

Advice on travelling abroad with children post separation

The summer holidays are fast approaching.  You’ve booked that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Disney World and arrive at the airport.  The children are excited and you manage to keep them entertained for the duration of the flight without too many complaints from other passengers!

You arrive at your destination and proceed to passport control.  The officer behind the screen examines your passports and notices that your children have a different surname to you.  Questions are asked about your situation and whether you can produce written consent from the other parent who has parental responsibility.  You can’t.  The holiday is cut short and you are swiftly returned to the UK with your children.

This is not an uncommon situation.  Many parents post separation, do not realise that permission is required by all people with Parental Responsibility, in order to remove a child from the jurisdiction.  The only exception to this rule is if you have a Child Arrangements Order, or an old residence order stating that the child ‘lives with’ you.  If you have been to court and have such an order, you are able to remove the child from the jurisdiction for up to 28 days without the consent of the other parent.

So, what should you take with you when travelling with your child?

Birth Certificate

If your child has a different surname to you, it is advisable to carry a copy of their birth certificate.

Court Order

If there is a court order in place, this should be taken as well.

Written Consent

In the event that you do not have a court order, you should take with you the written consent of the other parent with parental responsibility.

It is important to remember that at some point, both parents may wish to travel abroad with your child.  If the other parent refuses to provide written consent, you can try alternative methods of dispute resolution to discuss the concerns and to try and find a solution.  This could be by attending Mediation, or through the Collaborative Law process.  In the event that an agreement cannot be reached, you may have to apply to the court for a Specific Issue Order.

So when you’re packing the sun cream and other holiday essentials, remember to add these things to your travel checklist:

  1. Child’s birth certificate;
  2. Child Arrangements Order, if you have one;
  3. If there is no court order in place, the written Consent of the people with parental responsibility of your child.