Holidays as a Single Parent

For the 2.1 million separated families in the UK planning a family holiday this autumn or Christmas, there comes extra rules to bear in mind.

If you are planning to take your children abroad, separated families have various considerations and measures to take to ensure all goes smoothly. This guide is designed to avoid any last-minute panics, or worse, being prohibited from leaving the country.

The main rule to remember is that everyone with parental responsibility, or the court, must give their permission for a child to leave the UK for any period. Taking a child out of the UK without this permission can be classed as child abduction.

Parental responsibility can be held by a number of parties, but it is usually the child/children’s parents. If you’re the mother, you automatically have parental responsibility.

How to Obtain Permission

As with all aspects of parenting, communication is key. Make sure that holidays are planned in advance and that those plans are communicated clearly to other parties with parental responsibility. A good list of things to communicate are:

  1. Where you’re taking the children
  2. For how long
  3. Where you’re staying
  4. Which port or airport you’re travelling to and from
  5. Flight times

Once these factors has been agreed, you should get a signed letter from the other parties with parental responsibility which clearly states they give their consent for you to take the child out of the jurisdiction. This letter should include their contact details so if you’re stopped at any point by transport staff or local authorities who aren’t happy with the letter, they can call the other parties to clarify that permission has been given.

If you have a different surname to your child, it may be worth bringing a copy of their birth certificate as a final precaution. All these precautions may be tedious and require lengthy forward planning and organisation, but it’s worth it to prevent the risk of spending hundreds, or thousands, of pounds to be refused travel to, or admission into, a holiday destination.

If you can’t obtain permission

If you can’t obtain permission because the other parties who have parental responsibility won’t agree, then you’ll need to obtain a court order that gives you permission. If you’re having difficulties with getting an agreement, or you want to be sure you won’t run into choppy waters heading for a well-deserved trip to the Algarve, contact our specialist Solicitors for tailored advice.

If you want to remain abroad or are thinking about permanent relocation, see our earlier blog

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