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Can I Take My Child Abroad?

Taking a child on holiday

The position will often depend on whether there are any Children Act Orders that have been made. If so, there may be provisions in the order which need to be followed, or an application made to vary the terms of the order, if appropriate.

Where no order has been made, first of all you need to consider who has parental responsibility for the child. If both parents have parental responsibility and there are no Residence Orders, or any other restrictions in place, then if you wish to take your child on holiday you should obtain the written consent of the other parent or party with parental responsibility. If that consent is refused, then an application to Court will need to be made for the Court to grant permission, usually by applying for a Specific Issue Order under The Children Act.

The situation is however different if one parent has a Residence Order. If a parent with a Residence Order wishes to take a child abroad then they can do so for up to one month without the written consent of the other parent. However, it is good parenting to endeavour to agree the arrangements in advance. Our advice would be to consult and reach agreement with the other parent. This can avoid misunderstandings and allegations of abduction.

In most cases the Court is likely to give permission for a child to go abroad on holiday but often will require the parent to provide the other parent with details of where the child will be staying, details of flights and contact telephone numbers.

If a grandparent or perhaps another family member, or friend, would wish to take the child abroad, permission will be needed from both parents with parental responsibility, not from just one.

Going to live abroad

A parent will need the permission of the other parent, or a Court Order, to take a child to live permanently abroad. If an application to Court is made it is described as an “Application for Leave to Remove a Child from the Jurisdiction”, (which is outside England and Wales).

Our advice would be for careful thought to be given before making any application to Court. The Court will want to see well thought out plans with specific details of arrangements for the child when living abroad, particularly with regard to accommodation and schooling. Another key issue would be what contact either face-to-face or indirectly, say by way of telephone, email or webcam, will take place if the child goes to live abroad.

For more detailed advice tailored to your individual circumstances contact a member of our Family Law Team.

March 2013

Please read Reliance on information posted in our Terms of Website Use - see Legal section - before relying on this commentary.

Before relying on this commentary please read the Reliance on information posted section in our Terms of Website Use in our Legal section. Please note that specialist advice should be taken in relation to any specific queries and the information above is provided for general information purposes only.

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Our Experts

Gemma Purt

Head of Department
Family Law

Curtis Wray

Associate Solicitor
Family Law

Megan Mahesan

Associate Solicitor
Family Law

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