How to plan holidays as a separated parent




With the summer holidays fast approaching, you may be thinking about taking your child on holiday. If you are a separated parent, it is best to plan ahead.

Most separated parents need the consent of their former partner if they want to take their child overseas on holiday. However, consent is not required when a Child Arrangement Order is in place and the Court Order stipulates that the child lives with you. In this instance, you can take the child out of the country for a maximum of 28 days without the consent of the other parent.


What if there is no Child Arrangement Order in place?

In the absence of a Child Arrangement Order, every person with Parental Responsibility needs to provide their consent to allow a child to be taken on holiday.

Section 3(1) of the Children Act 1989 defines, “Parental Responsibility” as, “all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has….”

Married / divorced parents have joint Parental Responsibility. However, if parents are not married, only the mother has Parental Responsibility


How can Parental Responsibility be acquired?

Below are some examples of what a father can do to gain Parental Responsibility:

  1. Be registered as the father on the child’s birth certificate.
  2. Entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother.
  3. Applying to the Court for a Parental Responsibility Order.
  4. Obtaining a Child Arrangement Order from the Court.

If both parents have Parental Responsibility for the child, written consent from the former partner is required before taking the child on holiday.

If the mother has sole Parental Responsibility, she can take the child on holiday inside / outside the UK (unless stated otherwise by the Court).

As a matter of caution, it is always advised that both parties provide written consent before going overseas. It is common practice for airport security staff to request evidence of the absent parent’s consent.

What if my former partner fails to provide their consent?

Ultimately, if a parent fails to provide their written consent you will need to apply to the Court to secure permission. Failure to do so could result in your former partner making allegations of child abduction, which could amount to a criminal offence. When considering whether to give permission, the Court will look at what Order is in the child’s best interests

Additional factors to consider.

Finally, it is always advisable to discuss and agree the holiday with the other parent before booking. Provide details such as destination, travel dates, flight details and accommodation.

Contact us, we are here to help

We’re here to help, so please pick up the phone or drop us an email and one of our dedicated team will help with your enquiry.