September 22, 2023

Epic Law

The Law Folks

Can I Take My Child on Holiday If Separated?

The short answer is no. You cannot remove your child from the jurisdiction without either the written consent of every person who has parental responsibility for the child or consent of the Court.

This means that if you wish to take your child on holiday abroad and the other parent who has parental responsibility does not agree then you cannot take them. Unless one of the following applies:-

(a) You have a Residence Order.
(b) You have a Court Order giving consent.

If you have a Residence Order you are entitled to remove your child from the jurisdiction for a period of less than one month without the other parent, who has parental responsibilities, permission. The parent without the Residence Order will still need the consent of the other parent.

If a father does not yet have parent responsibility the mother can take the child out of the jurisdiction. However if the father has made an application for parental responsibility and/or leave to make the application the mother should not take the child out of the jurisdiction until the matter has been determined by a Court.

What if…

“The other parent is just being unreasonable. The holiday would be really good for the child. We have both been through a hard time and the holiday would be great for us.”

Even if the other parent is being unreasonable but still will not give permission you will need to make an application to the Court under Section 8 of the Children Act for a Specific Issue Order. Essentially this is the Court’s permission for you to remove the child from the jurisdiction for the purposes of a holiday.

When considering an application under the Children Act the Court will consider what is in the best interests of the child and this will be the Court’s paramount concern. Generally the Courts are unlikely to prevent a child from going on holiday with the other parent if that holiday is on the face of it enjoyable especially if the children are able to express a clear wish to go on holiday and the parent undertakes(a promise to the court) to return the child at the end of the holiday.

An objecting parent would have to come up with very good reasons as to why a holiday was not in the child’s best interest. In previous cases objecting parents have been concerned that the child will miss schooling; the parent wishing to go on holiday has incomplete and inappropriate travel plans; the parent with care was not well; or the child’s health was such that a holiday was not in the child’s interest. Some parents are concerned that the holiday is a ruse for abducting the child and not returning them to the jurisdiction. For the Court to consider this there would have to be a very clear identifiable concern. The Courts are also likely to be more cautious in this regard when the application involves a holiday in a non Hague Convention country.

If you are concerned by another parent’s wish to take the child on holiday or wish to take your child on holiday but the other parent will not agree we would recommend that you discuss the matter carefully with an experienced family law solicitor. The solicitor can then advise you as to your rights, the options available to you and the approach of the Court.