UK weather is grim right now but you’ve probably got warmer climates on your mind.
With the holiday season looming, you might be wondering whether you can take your child overseas without the consent of their other parent.
The short answer is, if your child’s other parent has parental responsibility for them then you must seek their consent before taking your child abroad.
What is parental responsibility?
Parental responsibility refers to the rights, responsibilities and authority someone has towards a child.
A child’s birth mother automatically has parental responsibility.
A father who is married to the mother at the time of the birth also has parental responsibility, as does a father named on the birth certificate.
Parental responsibility can be granted to a father on a voluntary basis by the mother, or by the court.
This can include other individuals involved in raising the child and even the local authority in some cases.
What does parental responsibility entitle you to do?
If you have parental responsibility, you can make decisions about a child’s life.
Major decisions should be made together with anyone else who holds parental responsibility and these include:
- Where a child goes to school
- What (if any) religion a child follows
- What non-emergency medical treatment a child has
- Whether a child will go overseas on holiday or to visit someone
What if my child’s other parent won’t consent to a holiday?
If you and your former partner can’t agree on overseas plans, you should speak to an expert family lawyer.
They will be able to negotiate on your behalf and/or refer you to mediation to find an amicable solution.
If you cannot resolve matters via mediation, the court can be asked to make a ruling.
A court will often rule that a holiday with a parent is a good thing and so unless there are any reasons not to grant consent, permission may be given.
If you have any reason to suspect it may not be in your child’s best interests to go, you should let your solicitor know.
This includes if you are worried your partner may not bring your child back or that they may be unable to meet your child’s needs for any reason.
Where the court believes that there is a risk to your child, a prohibited steps order can be made.
Agreeing an overseas holiday for your child
Your child’s other parent may agree to an overseas trip if they’re given the full information.
Always speak to them first if you can and discuss what you would like to do before you go ahead and book.
By talking it through and listening to any objections, you stand a better chance of avoiding a dispute.
A parent who is well-informed about where the child will stay and who with, for how long, etc, will be much happier and less anxious about what is planned.
Need our help?
If you would like help to negotiate with your child’s other partner, speak to our Family Law Team on 01772 799 600.
Article by Lyndsey Kiley