Most of us are gearing up to the school summer holidays, closely followed by the annual holiday to the sun with the children. Whilst the majority of us will not forget the children’s swimsuits or sun screen as we are rushing off to the airport , many separated or divorced parents will forget the ‘’holiday rules’’ when setting off on holiday with their children . Therefore, Evolve Family Law have put together this short guide to holidays abroad with children after separation or divorce.

A Guide To Holidays Abroad With Children After Separation Or Divorce

1. Agreement to the holiday

If you are a separated parent, you may think that no one can dictate what you do with your children during the time you get to spend with them. However, unless you have a child arrangements order that says the children live with you, it is necessary to have either your former partner’s written agreement to the holiday abroad or a court order giving you permission to take the children abroad on holiday.

2. Be prepared

If you know that you need your ex-partner’s agreement to take the children abroad on holiday then be prepared and plan in advance so you have time to agree school summer holiday dates and get agreement in writing to your planned trip abroad. If you cannot get your ex-partner’s agreement then it still pays to be organised. That is because an application will need to be made to court to secure an order to give you permission to take the children abroad on holiday.

3. Take the paperwork

With luggage allowances on some aeroplanes it can be tempting to only pack the essentials. However, evidence of your former partner’s agreement to your taking the children abroad on holiday is one of those essentials. You do not need reams of paperwork, a court order or the agreement is sufficient. Even if you do not take the agreement document with you, then as a minimum you should take a text or message confirming the agreement to the overseas holiday.

Why? You may take the view that as your ex-partner has been brilliant about agreeing to your taking the children for a week abroad you do not need to burden yourself with extra paperwork. However, even if your ex has not alerted the airport police to a possible child abduction (yes, it does happen just as in the films) an airport official may start to ask questions if children are travelling abroad with one parent, especially where parent and child have different surnames.

Airport officials are not there to trap travelling dads but to spot children being trafficked into or out of the UK. Whilst we can all understand the vital work officials do it is not pleasant to be caught up, with your children in tow , in delays at the airport because you did not take the paperwork with you . If you have a different surname to your child, you can think about taking a copy birth certificate or change of name deed, just in case questions are asked.

4. Communicate

You may think that your ex-partner worries unnecessarily. They may well do. However, parents do worry if their children are abroad, even if they are with their mum or dad. The parent who is waiting for the children’s return to the UK may be panicking if they have not had a text from the children or if the flights are delayed. A quick message can not only avoid a fraught reunion between children and parent but can also avoid a parent refusing to agree to your taking the children away abroad again.

If you need any help with applying to take children abroad or advice on existing childcare arrangements or court orders then please call Evolve Family Law on +44 (0) 1477 464020 or email Louise Halford at [email protected]