Can I Take My Child on Holiday if I am Separated?

The short answer is no and as we move into the summer holidays, despite the recent tumultuous times, many people in Ormskirk, Southport and across Lancashire will be thinking of holidays and this family law issue is likely to affect many people across the region.

In order to take your child on holiday abroad you will require the written consent of every person who has parental responsibility for the child or consent of the Court.

This means that if you wish to take your child on holiday abroad, to another jurisdiction, and the other parent who has parental responsibility does not agree, then you cannot take them. The only exceptions to this are:

  • You have a Residence Order
  • You have a Court Order giving consent

If you have a Residence Order, you are entitled to remove your child from the jurisdiction for a period of less than one month without the other parent’s, who has parental responsibilities, permission. The parent without the Residence Order will still need the consent of the other parent.

If a father does not yet have parental responsibility, the mother can take the child out of the jurisdiction. However, if the father has made an application for parental responsibility and/or has been granted leave to make the application, the mother should not take the child out of the jurisdiction until the matter has been determined by a Court.

What if… ‘The other parent is just being difficult. The holiday would be really good for the child. We have both been through a hard time and the holiday would be great for us.’

Even if the other parent is being unreasonable but still will not give permission, you will need to make an application to the Court under Section 8 of the Children Act for a Specific Issue Order. Essentially, this is the Court’s permission for you to remove the child from the jurisdiction for the purposes of a holiday.

When considering an application under the Children Act, the Court will consider what is in the best interests of the child and this will be the Court’s main concern.

Generally, the Courts are unlikely to prevent a child from going on holiday with the other parent if that holiday is on the face of it enjoyable, especially if the children are able to express a clear wish to go on holiday and the parent undertakes (a promise to the court) to return the child at the end of the holiday.

An objecting parent would have to come up with very good reasons as to why a holiday was not in the child’s best interest.

In previous instances, objecting parents have been concerned that:

  • the child will miss schooling;
  • the parent wishing to go on holiday has incomplete and inappropriate travel plans;
  • the parent was not well; or the child’s health was such that a holiday was not in the child’s interest.

Some parents are concerned that the holiday is a ruse for abducting the child and not returning them to the jurisdiction. For the Court to consider this, there would have to be a very clear identifiable concern. The Courts are also likely to be more cautious in this regard when the application involves a holiday in a non-Hague Convention country.

We have advised many people across Ormskirk, Southport, Wigan, Lancashire and Merseyside in relation to family law matters. We have been established over 200 years and one of the oldest firms in the North West.

If you are concerned by another parent’s wish to take the child on holiday or wish to take your child on holiday but the other parent will not agree, we would recommend that you discuss the matter carefully with our experienced family law solicitor, Alexandra Kenyon. Please call our offices on 01695 574 201 or 01704 504381  or email us by clicking here.