If you are taking your children abroad this summer, you may need consent from your ex-partner.

When do I need permission to take my child abroad?

When your ex-partner has parental responsibility for a child or children.  The only exception is where the parent travelling with the child has a child arrangement order from the court stating that the children live with them. If this is the case, this parent can take a child abroad for up to 28 days without needing consent from the other parent or anyone else who has parental responsibility.)

  • Who has parental responsibility?
  • A child’s birth mother automatically has parental responsibility for their child (unless the child has been adopted or taken into care).
  • A child’s father or step-parent will also have parental responsibility if they were married to the mother when the child was born.
  • If parents were unmarried at the date of birth, a child’s biological father will only have parental responsibility if they were listed on the child’s birth certificate when they were born.
  • Someone will also have parental responsibility if they have adopted a child, or if they received a parental responsibility order granted by the court giving them this legal right.

What if I don’t get permission or my ex won’t agree?

Failure to obtain permission from those with parental responsibility could lead to criminal charges for child abduction and your ex partner could make an urgent application to the court to block your travel plans.

How can solicitors help?

We can assist you with obtaining the required permission from your ex-partner in writing to travel abroad with your children which you can produce to the border authorities on exiting the country.

If your ex-partner does not provide their consent, we can assist with making an urgent application to the court for a Specific Issue Order giving you permission for your children to travel.

Please call us on 01992 892 214 if you require assistance.

What documents will I need to travel?

  • Written consent from those with parental responsibility, ideally with a copy of their passport and their contact details.
  • Proof of your relationship with the child, e.g., birth or adoption certificates.
  • Divorce/marriage certificate if your surname is different from your child’s.
  • The specifics of your trip.

If you do not carry the relevant documentation, you could be prevented from leaving the country. Don’t leave it too late to obtain permission. It’s always best to agree holiday arrangements in writing with your ex-partner before you book to go away. This avoids conflict, misunderstanding and any clashes in holiday arrangements. If your ex later withdraws their consent, you have proof in writing that they had agreed if you ever need to go to court.

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