What is the situation when it comes to divorced couples and their children's holidays? Sarah Crilly takes a look at the issue.
At Ward Hadaway, we are often asked to advise divorced or separated parents whether they can take their children on holiday abroad or whether they need the permission of the child’s other parent. If you have a Child Arrangements Order stating that your child lives with you (formerly called a Residence Order) you can take your child on holiday abroad for up to 28 days. However if no orders are in place, you must obtain the permission of all other persons with parental responsibility for the child. It is a criminal offence for any parent to take a child out of the UK without the permission of every person with parental responsibility for the child. It is therefore important not only before the holiday is booked that you speak to the other parent to check that they will agree to the holiday taking place but it’s also a good idea afterwards to provide that parent with all the necessary information relating to the holiday once it has been booked. Where children are travelling abroad with one parent, or perhaps with grandparents it is advisable to seek legal advice as some countries require a statutory declaration or other official documentation to be signed giving consent for the child to travel. We can assist with the preparation of such documentation. If a parent will not agree to the holiday, you can make an application to the court for a Specific Issue Order under Section 8 of the Children Act 1989 to enable you to take your child on that specified holiday. It is advisable if considering such an application that this is made well in advance of the proposed holiday and that no flights or accommodation are booked until the matter has been determined by the court. In considering the proposed holiday, the child’s welfare is paramount and the court will always consider what is in the child’s best interests when dealing with the matter.