A summer holiday abroad is a time that the whole family should look forward to – sun, sea and hours of fun playing on the beach. However, for couples that are no longer together, booking to take a child away for a couple of days isn’t always that simple.
While most couples can communicate effectively and decide when the child can be taken out of the country, there are still some ex-partners that refuse to let their child go away with the child’s other parents which can, of course, lead to arguments over the issue of ‘temporary removal’. It is important to respect your ex-partners decision if they’re being reasonable but for most cases, it is about knowing your legal rights when it comes to taking your own child on holiday.
In this article, we discuss your legal rights as a parent when it comes to taking your own child away and what you should do if your partner is refusing to let you go ahead with it.
The legal position of a parent who wants to take their child abroad
It isn’t just grandparents and friends that need permission to take your child out of the country, but the child’s other parent too. Anyone that takes a child away without permission from both parents will face serious consequences such as huge fines or imprisonment.
Those that try and impose these sanctions may be looking at a hefty lawyer’s fee and it can also be extremely time-consuming, with low chances that you will escape the consequences. On the other hand, if a parent has a Child Arrangement Order that states that the child must stay in their care, then they do not need consent from the other parent to take their child on holiday if the holiday is under 28 days that is. However, we recommend that it is still probably best to give them a heads up and let them know that their son/daughter will be leaving the country to obtain consent in this scenario and avoid any legal problems that may arise in the future.
This could work in your favor in the future by showing as evidence that you’re willing to communicate with your ex-partner when it involves your child’s best interests, should the matter be brought to court in future.
What to do if you don’t get the permission from your ex-spouse
If you’re unable to reach an appropriate conclusion then the parent that wishes to take the child on holiday will have to request court permission which could potentially postpone the trip, as it takes a little longer. The court very rarely denies the permission to take a child on holiday other than in extreme cases such as:
– The holiday application isn’t genuine
– The holiday involves visiting an unreasonable destination
– The children may not return
– The parent has previously made threats to not return to the UK
How to avoid similar hiccups in future
Set up an agreement beforehand so that you and your ex-partner can avoid any problems when it comes to events like this. Communication really is the best policy in situations like this. Talk to your partner prior to taking the child away and come to a reasonable conclusion on dates, time away and location. It makes sense during a divorce or the annulment of a civil partnership to establish how to keep relevant parties informed and avoid future misunderstandings.