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Holiday checklist for separated parents (not forgetting Brexit!)

One way of getting through the chill of winter is to plan and book a summer holiday in warmer climes. From just a few hours of internet browsing, your dream break can be booked – something to look forward to until the thaw sets in.

However, the impending exit of the UK from the EU and the surrounding uncertainty may give you pause before you click to confirm that hotel reservation. If there is ‘no deal’, flights could be temporarily grounded, and holiday makers should check cancellation and refund policies.

Further, separated parents need to think very carefully when making plans to take their child abroad. On the face of it, it would seem straightforward to take your child away, but there are some issues which must be considered.

Firstly, does the parent taking the child away have parental responsibility and the consent of the other? If not, they are potentially guilty of child abduction and can be subject to criminal sanctions.

Even if there is no issue with permission, upon arrival the parent may be questioned by immigration officers if their surname is different to the child’s. This undoubtedly adds to the stress of travelling.

However, such concerns can be avoided with a little planning. If you have a Child Arrangements Order stating that your child lives with you, then you can take them out of the country for up to 28 days without requiring the other parent’s permission, unless the Court says otherwise.

For extra peace of mind, it is advisable to take the following documents with you:

  • A letter from the other parent giving permission, with their contact details, and trip information.
  • Evidence of your relationship with the child, eg a birth or adoption certificate
  • A marriage certificate or decree absolute (if you are a single parent but your surname is different from the child’s).

If the other parent does not give their express permission, then you will have to apply to the court for an order for leave to remove the child from the jurisdiction.

If you need any advice about this, please contact Nikki Aston on 01159 853 487.