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taking children abroad when youre separated

For separated parents, the issue of  taking children abroad can be a complicated process. While the vast majority of separated couples are able to communicate and amicably agree to their children going abroad on holiday, disputes can happen concerning the issue of ‘temporary removal’. 

Whether you’re planning on taking your children abroad or are contesting your ex-partner’s decision, it’s important to know where you stand.

What is the legal position of parents who want to take children on holiday abroad?

It’s important to note that it’s a criminal offence to take a child abroad without the consent of a parent (or anyone else with parental responsibility). Failing to obtain permission can result in a fine or even imprisonment, however to impose these sanctions can be lengthy and expensive. Both parents, grandparents, schools and family friends have to obtain the appropriate consent before taking children abroad.

However, if a parent has a Child Arrangement Order stating that the child must live in their care, then the consent of the other parent is not needed if the child is going abroad for less than 28 days. It’s still worth obtaining consent in this scenario to avoid any future legal problems and to evidence that you are willing to communicate with the other party should the matter be brought before the Court in the future.

What can you do if a child’s parent doesn’t allow them to go abroad?

If the two parents can’t reach a conclusion, the parent that wishes to go on holiday will have to request court permission to take them abroad. It’s common for this request to be granted, and is only denied in extreme circumstances, such as if the Court deems that:
•    If the holiday isn’t genuine,
•    If the holiday involves visiting an unreasonable destination
•    If the children may not return to the country
•    If the parent has threatened not to return

How to avoid problems when taking children abroad

The best way to avoid any problems when taking children abroad is to agree a set procedure beforehand. 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.

For more information about all aspects of divorce and family law, speak to experienced solicitors at Howells. Call 02920 404014 or email info@howellslegal.com today.

 by Karis Jones

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