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Do you need permission to take a child abroad?

You were there at their birth, raised them, clothed and fed them, and might even be fond of them, but are you allowed to take your child abroad without permission?

It’s not commonly known, but if you are separated and you would like to take your child (or children) on holiday, you will need to notify the other parents of your plans.

It doesn’t matter how long the time abroad is, whether a family holiday or something more permanent, the same rule applies: If you want to take your child anywhere outside England and Wales you are required, by law, to get consent from those who share parental responsibility.

So, for example, if you would like to take your child on holiday abroad and your ex has Parental Responsibility, you will need your ex’s consent. In the event that they unreasonably refuse to give their permission, an application to the Court can be made.

It is almost always in everyone’s, including children’s, interest to discuss holiday arrangements in advance so that an understanding is reached that suits all involved, and from a legal point of view avoids concerns over contact and child abduction, negating the need for a family lawyer and applications to the Court.

There is an exception, though: when a Court Order states where a child should live (formerly known as a Residence Order) the Children Act 1989 permits the ordered parent to take the child outside England and Wales for up to a month without the other parent or court’s consent.

Separation matters aside, trips abroad for children are an enlightening experience, whether visiting family and friends, or taking a short trip somewhere new. Should circumstances arise when consent is refused and you would like to appeal to the Court, Slater and Gordon’s family lawyers can help.

For family law legal advice contact us here and we'll be happy to help you.

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