We’re all going on a summer holiday, or are we?

The summer is nearly upon us and no doubt many of you are thinking about your holiday plans. However, if you are separated or divorced from the other parent of your children, you will need the consent of the other parent, or an order from the Court, permitting you to travel.

If you do not have this consent, then you MUST NOT travel with the children – so it’s important to seek consent as soon as possible and legal advice if that consent is not forthcoming.

Can my ex stop me from going on holiday?

The other parent cannot prevent you from leaving England or Wales – but that is not necessarily the case for your children.

You will generally need the consent of the children’s other parent (and anyone else with parental responsibility) before you can travel with the children to any destination outside England or Wales. This includes travelling to Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Do I always need my ex’s consent?

Generally, yes – unless you have a Court order:

  • granting you residence of the children; or
  • stating that the children are to “live with” you.

If you have one of these orders, you are entitled to remove the children from England and/or Wales for up to 4 weeks (28 days) without the consent of the other parent (or anyone else with parental responsibility).

However, it is still advisable to discuss your travel plans with the children’s other parent before travelling, so that they know where the children will be.

How should I obtain consent if I don’t have it?

  1. If you don’t have a “live with” or residence order in place:
  • Ask for the other parent’s consent, in writing (usually by email or text message), in plenty of time before travelling. You will then have a written record of the agreement just in case the position is later questioned. Provide full details of your travel plans, including contact details of the hotel, flight times and copy of return tickets.
  1. If you cannot obtain the other parent’s consent for travel:
  • Instruct a solicitor to write to the other parent requesting their consent instead. Occasionally, this can increase the likelihood of them consenting.
  • Consider attending mediation to help you discuss the issue directly with the other parent.
  1. If consent is still not provided:
  • Consider applying to Court for a Specific Issue Order. The Court will then decide whether the children should be permitted to travel abroad by considering, amongst other things, whether it is in their best interests to do so.

When should I ask for consent?

Our advice is to ask for the other parent’s consent at the earliest opportunity (and usually before booking a trip) as you can then explore other options at an earlier stage if consent is not forthcoming. Leaving matters to the last minute could put your holiday at risk, as you may not be able to obtain consent in time or have enough time to bring an application before the Court.

What if I travel with the children without obtaining consent?

This should be avoided at all costs. Travelling with the children without the other parent’s consent is against the law and is treated as child abduction.

If you do not have the consent of the other parent or an order from the Court permitting you to travel, then you MUST NOT travel with the children. This is all the more reason for you to take action as soon as possible in order to obtain consent or to present your application at Court.

If you would like to discuss this issue or any other family related matter, then please contact our Family team to make an appointment.

Chalfont St Giles: 01494 870075  |  Great Missenden: 01494 923923  Stone: 01296 747151