Christmas Is Coming: Are You Allowed To Take A Child Out Of The UK If You Are Separated?

13th November 2017 by

With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, it is important to be aware of your rights in relation to taking your children abroad.

Legally a child cannot be removed from the UK, whether for a short trip or permanent relocation without the consent of everyone who has parental responsibility for the child or if consent cannot be obtained or is not being provided, the Court’s permission is required.

You will have parental responsibility if:

  1. You are the child’s mother;
  2. You are the child’s father and you are married to the child’s mother;
  3. You are the child’s father and you are named on the birth certificate (if the child is born after 1 December 2003);
  4. You have a Child Arrangement Order for the child to live with you;
  5. You have a parental responsibility agreement or a parental responsibility order.

If the parties can agree, what steps to take?

In these circumstances, it is recommended that you have a formal letter with contact details for the other party. This will assist if you are stopped and questioned at the border. Some countries such as a Portugal require such a letter to follow their legal requirements and documents to be provided, i.e. birth certificates. It is therefore important to check requirements of the country you are travelling to.

What happens if the other party does not consent?

If you have a Child Arrangements Order for the child to live with you, previously known as a residence order, you are permitted to take the child out of the UK for up to 4 weeks without requiring permission. It is however advisable to inform the other parent.

If the other party refuses and you do not have a Child Arrangements Order, then you may need to consider applying for a Specific Issue order. If the Court do not allow you to travel with the child, the Judge must provide a reasonable justification for this decisions. All decisions relating to a child must be in the child’s best interests.  Such reasons could be travel to a dangerous country or if there is a risk that the child will not be returned to the UK.

If you require further advice and assistance on matters involving your children, please do not hesitate to contact Catherine Taylor on 01273 669 124 or Helen Ioannou on 0207 822 4000