Taking a Child Abroad

What to Consider?

The Easter break is fast approaching and many families will be looking forward to spending time together. For some this might mean holidaying abroad.

If parents are separated, the arrangements for travelling abroad can be complicated and must be sorted out in well in advance. Each person with parental responsibility for the child must consent to the trip before the child travels abroad. Ideally, consent should be in writing to avoid any future disagreements about what was agreed. Additionally, you might be asked to provide the other parent’s written consent to travel abroad when you leave the UK, or upon arrival at the other country.

It is best if parents can agree arrangements in good time before any trip abroad, and have an agreed written record what has been decided. If you need consent but the other parent will not agree to the child travelling abroad, then you may need to apply for a court order to allow this.

If you apply for a court order, the judge will consider why the other parent is objecting to the child travelling. The most common worry is a fear that the child will not be returned home. The court will look for evidence that the child will be returned, such as return tickets. Ultimately, the judge decides what is in the child’s best interests and whether the child would benefit from the holiday.

If you are concerned that your child could be taken abroad and not returned home, then you can ask the court for a prohibited steps order. This is a court order that says the child must not be taken anywhere outside England and Wales. If the judge decides that there is a real risk that the child would not be returned home, then he or she can make a prohibited steps order preventing travel abroad. It is much better to have a prohibited steps order before a child travels, rather than have to go to court after the child has gone abroad, to try to make the other parent return the child home.

If you would like advice about taking your children abroad, or you are concerned about your children being taken abroad without your consent, please do get in touch with our accredited international children team on 0203 440 8000 or A_FamilyReferrals@tvedwards.com. We have a team of experienced solicitors who are able to offer specialist legal advice.