Many parents are unaware that they could be committing a criminal offence by taking their child out of England and Wales without the written permission of everyone who has parental responsibility for the child, or the permission of a Judge.
If there is a Child Arrangements Order stating that a child is to live with a particular parent, then they may take their child abroad for up to four weeks at a time without permission from the other parent. If there is no Order, or your intended period of travel is longer than 28 days, then permission from everyone with parental responsibility or authority from the Family Court is required.
If permission from the other parent is not forthcoming, then an application can be made to the Family Court for a Specific Issue Order.
Sometimes one parent may seek to prevent the other taking their child on holiday, for instance when they feel that the proposed holiday may not be in the best interests of the child, or they won’t return them to this country. In these circumstances, the concerned parent can make an application for a Prohibited Steps Order. This is an Order preventing the proposed holiday from taking place.
The Court’s paramount consideration will always be the child’s welfare.
Making a Court application can be expensive and stressful and could damage relations between parents, when they should be working together to meet their children’s needs.
The most sensible approach when considering school holidays is to try to agree dates as soon as the holiday timetable for the school year is known, and approach the other parent to attempt to reach agreement. Good communication is vital. It is wise to try to do this at the earliest possible opportunity.
If you are concerned about any holidays that you may have planned, please get in touch and I will be happy to help you ensure that there are no problems.