The school holidays are nearly upon us and that means many parents will be making plans to travel abroad with their children. Holidays are a great way of spending quality time together but the arrangements for travelling abroad with children can be complicated if their parents are separated.
Many people don’t realise that you need permission of each person with Parental Responsibility before taking children abroad. Usually this is the other parent. It is best to try and plan ahead to reach agreement about holiday plans in plenty of time to try to iron out any difficulties and avoid upset.
It is best if permission is put in writing in case you are asked to provide proof at the airport or when entering the other country.
If the other parent will not agree to you going abroad you will need to apply for a court order approving the plan for the child to travel abroad. An exception to this rule is where you have obtained a Child Arrangements Order saying the children should live with you. This allows you to take them abroad but for no longer than one month, without permission.
If a court application is made the Judge will have to look at both parents’ positions. A common reason for objecting to a child going abroad is the fear that they will not be returned. If the planned holiday is to a country which is not signed up to the Hague Convention the Court has to consider:
1. How big the risk is that the children will not return home
2. How serious the consequences are of them not returning home
3. What safeguards can be put in place to make sure they come home or to assist if they do not.
The Court has to balance the benefits to the child of a foreign holiday, perhaps involving meeting members of their extended family and getting to know their cultural heritage, against the risk of their not being returned.