Separated Parents and Holidays Abroad - Can You Take Your Children?

Separated Parents and Holidays Abroad - Can You Take Your Children?

If you are separated from your child's other parent, and fear planning a holiday abroad will cause conflict, it may help to be clear on the facts from the start.

When considering travel with children, it is important to know who holds Parental Responsibility for the child(ren). Mothers automatically hold Parental Responsibility unless this has been removed by a Court Order. Fathers do not automatically share Parental Responsibility but may acquire it through a number of ways. For example, being named on the child’s birth certificate (he would have to have been there at registration in person), being married to the mother at the time the child was born, entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement or by obtaining an Order of the Court. Other individuals may also share Parental Responsibility if a Court Order provides for this. If you do not know who holds Parental Responsibility for your child, please seek further legal advice. 

If there is no Child Arrangements Order in place, you will require the consent of all those who share Parental Responsibility to travel abroad with your child. This may be as simple as a signed letter confirming their consent, but you may also need to consider any specific requirements for the country you intend to travel to.

If there is a Child Arrangements Order which confirms your child is to ‘live with’ you, then you may take your child out of the jurisdiction (outside of England and Wales) for up to 28 days without the consent of others who share Parental Responsibility. You should still inform the other parent of your intended trip and it is, of course, better to agree the arrangements for the holiday in advance.

In circumstances where no agreement can be reached in respect of a potential holiday, you will need to consider other options, such as mediation or instructing a solicitor to help you negotiate an agreement. If this is unsuccessful, you may need to consider making an application to Court.

If you need advice on your situation, we offer a 1 hour Preliminary Advice Meeting, followed up in writing for £180+vat. To book an appointment, please contact Jessica Firth-Brown on 0800 542 4245 or email

 0800 542 4245