Can I take my child abroad without the other parent’s consent?
Whether you can take your child abroad (outside of England and Wales) without consent from the other parent will depend on your situation. However, it is always best to seek authorisation anyway.
What if I have a child arrangements order?
If you have a child arrangements order, and it names you as living with the child, you can travel with your child abroad without the other parent’s consent for 28 days (4 weeks).
If the order does not name you, you cannot take your child abroad unless:
- You have a consent letter from all parties that hold parental responsibility for your child.
- A court order authorises you to take your child abroad.
What is parental responsibility?
Parental responsibility refers to your legal rights, obligations, duties, and powers over your child such as providing a home and maintenance for the child.
Occasionally, third parties hold parental responsibility if there is an order relating to the child in their favour or an agreement with the child’s parents.
What are the consequences of not getting the other parent’s permission to take my child abroad?
Failure to seek permission from the other parent or the court when you are permitted to do so can be considered child abduction and a criminal offence in certain circumstances.
When do I need permission to take my child abroad?
You can take your child abroad for up to 28 days without your ex-partner’s consent if the child arrangements order names you as living with the child. However, if your name is not in the order, you need the other parent’s written consent. If the parent denies you permission, you can apply for a Specific Issue Order in the family court.
If a child arrangements order does not exist, and you cannot get consent, you will need to apply for permission from the court.
You must demonstrate that you have suitable travel arrangements, that the host country is safe, and that the child will return after the trip. You must also give details about the trip such as the departure date, return date, and contact information of persons with parental responsibility residing in the UK.
In the absence of a court order, you must seek written consent from everybody with parental responsibility. While you may not necessarily require approval from the other parent, the responsible thing is to ask their permission to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and court applications. The letter also comes in handy when you need clearance from airport authorities.
Every case is unique, but it is clear you need to confirm whether you can legally travel abroad with your child without the other parent’s consent. We advise you to seek legal advice if you need assistance with your situation.