Taking your child abroad when you are separated

Askews Legal LLP are specialist Divorce and Family Law Solicitors in Coventry, your one stop shop for all round Family Law advice.

As we approach the holiday period you may be planning on taking your child abroad for a well-earned break. However, did you know that, if you are separated, there could be repercussions when taking your child out of the country without the other parent’s consent.

When consent is required

If you are thinking about taking your child abroad, you will first need to consider who has parental responsibility for your child/ren. Parental responsibility means the legal rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority a parent has for a child and the child’s property. Mothers automatically have parental responsibility. Fathers have parental responsibility if they are married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth or if they are named on the child’s birth certificate. If both you and your ex-partner share parental responsibility and there is no Child Arrangements Order in place then you will need to obtain the written consent of your ex-partner to take a child abroad. If the other parent withholds their consent, an application to the Family Court for permission becomes necessary. Failure to obtain the necessary consent or permission could result in proceedings being brought against you for international child abduction.
If a Child Arrangements Order is in place and it provides for the child to live with you, you can take your child out of the country for up to one month without the permission of the other parent. However, it is always advisable to keep the other parent informed of your intentions, providing them with as much detail as possible about the holiday to avoid any misunderstandings.
If only the mother has parental responsibility and there is no Child Arrangements Order in place, consent of the other parent is not required, although, as above, it is always good practice to make the other parent aware of your plans.

Application to the Court

If permission is required and is not forthcoming, you will need to apply to the Court. It is more likely than not that permission will be granted if sufficient detail is provided such as return flight details and address and contact numbers of where you will be staying while away.
However, if there are concerns that the child will not be returned, safeguards may also be required, particularly if you are planning on taking your child to a country that is not signed up to the Hague Convention 1980. Protective measures could take the form of undertakings, which are formal promises to the Court, financial bonds or mirror orders, which require any order made in this country to be “mirrored” in the jurisdiction you intend to travel to.

Contact Askews Legal LLP now for specialist advice from one of our Family Solicitors in Coventry.

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