Many families are currently in the difficult position of deciding whether or not to go abroad this summer. This can be even more difficult for separated parents who may have different ideas on whether this is appropriate and in the children’s best interests, taking on board the on-going COVID-19 concerns.
The legal position, subject to government travel restrictions in place at the time, depends on whether or not there is a child arrangements order in place.
You will need the permission of everyone with parental responsibility for the child in question, or a court order giving permission, before you take the child abroad unless you have a child arrangements order stating that the child lives with you. If you have a “lives with” child arrangements order, you can take the child abroad up to a maximum of 28 days without permission from everyone with parental responsibility (unless there is a specific court order preventing the travel, and subject to any specific wording in your order).
If under any of the scenarios above, you think you may face issues with agreeing travel and holiday arrangements with the other parent, you are able to apply for a court order specifically permitting the child to go on holiday with you. Likewise, if you are concerned that the other parent is intending to take the child abroad against your wishes, you are able to seek an order specifically preventing the child from going on holiday. You should always take legal advice on the merits of your application before applying to court, not least as there may be a way to resolve the dispute without going through the court process.
Some practical tips to consider are:
- Good communication is key. Start discussions early, even though travel plans may feel uncertain at this time. For example, you and the other parent may agree to only book holidays on the current “green” travel list.
- Record any agreements on holiday arrangements in writing. This is useful for both you and the other parent to keep track of what has been agreed (or not agreed) and make your plans accordingly.
- If it becomes clear there is a disagreement, seek legal advice at an early stage so you are aware of all your options. If things are left to the last minute, you may not have enough time to resolve matters including applying to court which should only be a matter of last resort.
- Have a “Plan B”. We have all learned over the last year that sometimes plans have to be rearranged. Be prepared that any travel plans made for this summer may be required to change at short notice.
If you are thinking of taking your child on holiday this summer and would like legal advice on this, please contact us today on 03331 212345 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team will be pleased to work with you in finding a solution.