Jeffrey Mills Solicitors
JEFFREY MILLS SOLICITORS
- Holiday Issues
May - July 2018
It is getting to the time of year when people are starting to think about holidays, whether that is booking a holiday for the summer, or preparing for one that has been booked for a while.
Sadly, holidays can sometimes cause issues for separated parents and families.
Taking a Child Abroad
In order to take a child abroad on holiday, you need to have the consent of everyone who has parental responsibility for that child.
A mother always has parental responsibility for their child. Fathers acquire parental responsibility either by virtue of being married to the mother, or by being named on the birth certificate (post December 2003).
The only circumstances in which consent is not required is when a Child Arrangements Order, previously known as a Residence Order, is in force.
The parent in whose favour the order is made is allowed to take the children in question outside the jurisdiction of the UK for a period of up to 28 days.
A copy of the Order should be taken with you when travelling in the event that proof is required.
Obtaining consent to take your child abroad is normally fairly simple.
You inform the other parent that you want to take the child away, give them the details, and they agree to the plans.
Sometimes, it can be sensible to have proof of this permission.
This is generally only likely to be required in cases where the parent travelling with the child has a different surname to them.
It is not always questioned, but in case it is, it can be sensible to have a copy of the child’s birth certificate and/or a letter from the other person with parental responsibility consenting to the holiday.
Consent letters can also be useful if grandparents or other relatives are taking their grandchildren away on holiday.
When More Formal Documentation is Needed
Sometimes more formal documentation is required, and this can vary from country to country.
We were recently contacted by a lady who had provided consent for her former partner to take their children to South Africa.
She had provided a letter of consent, however at the airport the father was informed that in order to travel, a Parental Consent Affidavit sworn by the absent parent was required.
In this particular case, the PCA was emailed to the mother, and she was able to attend our office to have the Affidavit sworn, it was then scanned in and emailed back to the father. The delay caused them to miss their flight, but they were able to re-book and travel later in the day.
If you have any concerns about whether this will be an issue when you travel, I would recommend speaking to your travel agent if you booked through one, or checking with the airline you are travelling with, and check with the relevant embassy of the country you are travelling to.
Travelling with adopted or Foster Children
If you are travelling with adopted or foster children, you should take a copy of the relevant order placing the child in your care which proves that you are that child’s legal guardian.
What If A Parent Won’t Consent?
Sometimes, one parent will not consent to the other parent taking the child abroad.
As with everything in family law, each case is different and the advice and outcome depends on the specific facts of that case.
However, if a child spends time with both parents, there should be no reason why either parent couldn’t take them abroad.
It is of course perfectly reasonable to expect the parent taking the child away to provide the other parent with flight and accommodation information.
If the other parents consent is not forthcoming, there is the option of making an application for a Specific Issue Order, where you ask a court to make a decision on that one issue.
Generally speaking, it is considered that a holiday is a positive and enjoyable experience for a child and therefore considered to be in the child’s best interests.
If you need any advice regarding potential holidays with children, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Should you require legal assistance from a firm with family values and a fresh approach, contact Jeffrey Mills Solicitors.
Tel: 01480 219600