At a time when our thoughts turn to holidays there are additional considerations for parents holidaying alone with children.
It sometimes comes as a surprise when I inform one parent that they generally cannot take a child outside of England and Wales without the express agreement of the other parent.
It is a criminal offence (known as ‘child abduction’) to remove a child, even for a short holiday, without either having consent of the other parent, consent from the court or having a formal Residence Order in place.
This role applies to all children, not merely those of separated parents. All too often we receive frantic calls from a parent who has realised at the last minute that there may be a problem obtaining such agreement. My advice is usually that provided certain information is given to the other parent, such agreement should be forthcoming.
For a parent to refuse agreement, having been supplied with this information, may result in their having to pay the court costs if a court application is necessary.
Necessary information to be provided will include:-
The ideal scenario is to pass this information to the other parent in writing and then have them acknowledge this also in writing – eg by email exchange. Don’t then forget to take it with you on holiday in order that you are able to provide evidence if this is requested.
To travel with a child without the other parent’s clear consent to travel can lead to problems from being stopped at the airport to being requested to return home during the holiday. The worst scenario would be being charged with child abduction.
With school holidays upon us don’t forget to add ‘written consent to travel’ to your list of things to do before leaving home!
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