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  • Writer's picturePenn Chambers

Family Law | Separated Parents - Consent to Take Your Child Abroad

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Ensuring that children can travel abroad safely and legally can be a complex process for separated parents, even if they have a Parenting Plan in place. It is important to understand the legal requirements to avoid any potential issues related to child abduction. Before taking a child abroad, parents must obtain permission from everyone with parental responsibility for the child or seek permission from the Court.

It is crucial to have a clear understanding of the destination you are planning to visit with your child. Different regions within a country may have distinct legal systems, which can impact the regulations surrounding international travel. For example, while a trip from England to Wales is not classed as travelling abroad, a trip to Scotland could be classed as abroad as Scotland has it's own separate legal system.

Child Arrangements Order (CAO) and Taking a Child Abroad

If a Child Arrangements Order (CAO) has been granted, which determines where the child primarily resides, you can generally take the child abroad for up to 28 days without seeking permission, unless there is a specific Court order prohibiting it.

However, it is highly recommended to inform the other parent about your travel plans, including the dates, destination, and accommodation details. Most Child Arrangements Orders include provisions regarding such notifications.

Obtaining Permission to Take a Child Abroad

In order to travel abroad with a child, it is essential to have a letter from the person with parental responsibility granting permission. This letter may be requested at both UK and foreign borders as evidence of authorisation to enter the country.

The letter should contain the contact details of the other person with parental responsibility. Additionally, it is advisable to provide supporting evidence of your relationship with the child, such as a birth or adoption certificate. If your family name differs from the child's, a marriage or divorce certificate can be included to establish the relationship.

What to Do If the Other Parent Refuses to Provide Consent

If you encounter difficulties in obtaining written consent from the other parent, it may be necessary to seek a court order under the Children Act 1989. This step ensures that the child's best interests are considered and allows for a legal resolution regarding travel permissions.

When making an application to Court, you will be expected to provide detailed information about the trip, including specific dates and duration. If the trip extends beyond a month, it is important to outline the arrangements for the child's education while abroad.

If you require assistance with the Travel Consent Form for this holiday season or need a template to guide you, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you navigate the legal requirements and ensure a smooth travel experience for you and your child(ren).

0800 073 73 76

The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute professional advice and you should take full and comprehensive legal, accountancy or financial advice as appropriate on your individual circumstances by a fully qualified Solicitor, Accountant or Financial Advisor/Mortgage Broker before you embark on any course of action.


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