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Beware of breaking the law when you take your child abroad if you are divorced or separated.

Apr 9th, 2021

Hannah Bell, Solicitor

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As a separated parent it is not necessarily as simple as booking a holiday and jetting off with your child. This is because a child may only be taken out of the country if all people with parental responsibility provide their agreement.

One of the many consequences of Covid-19 is that it has now been over a year where there has been little, if any, opportunity to go abroad. It is understandable therefore that many of us are eagerly planning our next holidays.

Whilst a birth mother will automatically have parental responsibility, to determine whether this is shared with any other people, it is necessary to consider whether the father (or any other person) has obtained parental responsibility. Consideration must be given to the child’s birth certificate, the marital status of the parents and whether there are any Child Arrangements Orders in place. Langleys’ Child Law team can provide expert legal advice and representation in this area.

What you need to do

  1. If you are able to gain the agreement from all those with parental responsibility, there is no further action for you to take.
  2. If you can’t agree things between you, then the next course of action is (unless an exemption applies) to apply to attend mediation.
  3. If mediation between does not work, you should make an application to the Court to determine whether you may take the child out of the country.

For a private non-urgent application, the first hearing tends to go ahead around 3 months after the application is issued. However, we have seen the introduction of a ‘Second Gatekeeping’ appointment, where a Legal Advisor will consider the application in the absence of the parties.

If you are struggling, we can help! Please contact us for a confidential discussion concerning your circumstances.

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Hannah Bell


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