Top tips on travelling abroad with children after separation

As summer approaches, for many families the thought of a holiday abroad will doubtless be on their minds. Planning a holiday can be challenging, particularly for separated parents, as a lot more needs to be considered.

So, what do separated parents need to know? In this blog, we look at the top 5 tips for travelling abroad with children after separation.

1. Communicate 

You’ll need the permission of anyone else with parental responsibility for your child to travel abroad without them. If you don’t obtain their permission, there‘s a risk you could be accused of child abduction.

If the other parent objects to you taking your child on holiday, then you will need to make an application to the court for a Specific Issue Order.

If you already have a Lives with Order stipulating that your child lives with you, then you don’t require the other parent’s consent to travel abroad for up to 28 days. However, you should still communicate your plans to the other parent so that they know where your child will be. 

Your holiday plans may also impact upon the time the other parent spends with your child so it may be necessary to discuss changes to this. Whilst there is no obligation to swap the days your child usually spends time with their other parent, suggesting alternative opportunities for them to see their child can help to eliminate any potential unhappiness or conflict when taking your child on holiday.

Whilst you don’t need to give the other parent more information about your proposed holiday, it can be helpful to provide additional information about who else will be joining you on the trip as well as sharing details of what you plan to do while you are away. This can help the other parent to recognise the benefit for your child of going on a holiday, as well as making sure they feel informed, consulted and involved in decision making about their child, all of which make it more likely that they will agree to you taking your child on holiday.

2. Plan ahead 

These discussions can take time so it’s important to plan ahead, particularly in case there is a dispute. If you need to apply for a Specific Issue Order to seek permission to go abroad with your child, you need to leave enough time for the court to deal with your application. Whilst the court is generally in favour of children getting to go on holidays abroad, the court is unlikely to treat an application for a holiday as urgent, therefore we recommend applying in good time before your holiday. If the application is not processed in time, it could result in you having to cancel your holiday which is often disappointing and costly.

3. Check entry requirements 

Every country has different rules around travelling with children solo. It’s important to check the entry requirements for the country you are travelling to in advance to avoid hold ups at the airport. In some cases, failing to check the entry requirements can result in you being denied entry to your destination. In most cases a simple written consent from the other parent may be all that’s required but others will need notarised consents, so make sure you check in advance.

4. Provide travel details 

Whilst your holiday will hopefully go ahead without a hitch, it’s important to ensure that the other parent has details of your travel arrangements including flight and accommodation information in case of emergencies.

5. Passport 

When you’re not the passport holder for your child, it’s important to establish clear agreements. Determine when the passport will be handed over to you for the trip and when you’ll need to return it

Mills & Reeve’s team of family lawyers have a wealth of experience in supporting separated parents to resolve matters, utilising both the court process and alternative methods of dispute resolution such as mediation

Our content explained

Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.

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