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Can I take my children abroad in the school holidays?

With the Easter holidays fast approaching, you might be planning a trip away with your children.  However, if you’re intending to take your children out of the country, you need to check that you are legally allowed to do this.

If you already have a court order relating to the children, then refer to this first of all and check whether this provides you with permission to take the children away or whether you are prevented from doing so. 

If you don’t have permission to do so, it can cause some difficulties for you at the airport, where the worst case scenario may be that you could be refused entry to the country which you are intending to travel to.

If both parents have parental responsibility

If both parents have parental responsibility then you may still need to obtain permission from the other parent.  There can also be difficulties when the child has a different surname to the traveling parent.  We would always advise that you seek written permission from the other parent.  This can be by way of a letter, email or text message.  If that is not forthcoming you would need to give consideration to making a court application to obtain the courts permission to take your child out the country.  Alternatively, if you are worried about your ex-partner taking your child out of the country without permission, you can seek an order preventing them from doing so.

What if only one parent has parental responsibility?

Technically you do not need to obtain the other parents’ permission in this case, but we would always advise that it would be best to do so to avoid any problems that can arise at the airport.

What if I don’t have parental responsibility?

In those circumstances it’s even more important to obtain permission from the other parent.  If the other parent refuses, you would need to make a court application to ask the court for permission.  The court would want exact details of where you would like to go and when, but it’s always best to avoid making any firm bookings until you know you have permission either from the court or other parent.

Should you have any questions or need more information about your legal rights, please contact Elliot Mather to meet with a family lawyer.

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