What Are My Separated Parents Holiday Rights?

Parental Responsibility and Separated Parents Holiday Rights allowing Father and Son camping holiday.
Legally reviewed by: Jonathan Pollard In: Child Care

With the Easter Holidays and Summer approaching, you may be thinking of taking your child on holiday. For separated couples, it’s important to know your Separated Parents Holiday Rights and parental responsibility regarding taking your child on a holiday. If you oppose your former partner taking your child on holiday our expert Family Law Solicitors can advise you on what steps to take next.

What is Parental Responsibility in the UK?

The Children’s Act 1989 defines parental responsibility as:
“all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property”.

In short, parental responsibility allows you to have a say in important decision-making regarding your child. This can include important decision-making regarding your child’s health, education, and welfare.

Read more information about what responsibilities parental responsibility includes.

Who Gets Parental Responsibility?

  • Mothers automatically have parental responsibility.
  • As long as the father was married/in Civil Partnership with the mother, they will automatically have parental responsibility. A father will not lose this during a legal separation. In this situation, both parents have Separated Parent’s Holiday Rights.

How Can a Father Gain Parental Responsibility if He Was Never Married/in a Civil Partnership with the Mother?

Some examples of what a father can do to gain parental responsibility are:

Do I Need My Former Partner’s Permission to Take My Child Abroad?

Whether you can take your child abroad depends on a lot of different factors, specific to your situation.

Unless stated otherwise by the court, a mother automatically has parental responsibility meaning that she can take the child on holiday inside and outside of England and Wales. Likewise, a father with parental responsibility can also take a child on holiday inside and outside of England and Wales. If both parents have responsibility for the child, you will need to obtain written permission from your former partner before taking the child on holiday.

On the other hand, if you are not named on the Parental Responsibility Agreement then you must obtain written a written agreement from all the people with parental responsibility before the holiday can go ahead.

If you have parental responsibility and your former partner does not and there are no other orders in place, then clear written permission is still needed to take the child outside of England and Wales.

Although there are situations where automatic parental responsibility is granted, it is always advised that both parents’ consent is granted in the form of written permission. Without permission, it is possible that your former partner could place allegations of child abduction on you, which could amount to a criminal offence. At airports, it is common for airport security to ask for evidence of the other parent’s permission that the child can travel abroad.

Can I Get a Court Order to Stop My Ex From Taking My Child on Holiday?

You can get a court order to stop your former partner from taking your child on holiday.

Before bringing your case to court, you should consider the reasons you don’t want your child to go on holiday. Some examples are:

  • Your former partner has given you cause to suspect they would neglect your child.
  • Your child has a medical condition.
  • The holiday will interfere with the child’s or your schedule.
  • You don’t consider the holiday location to be safe.
  • You are concerned about the time span of the holiday.

Before applying for a court order, we recommend getting in touch with Cartwright King’ Family Law Solicitors. Our solicitors will help to make you aware of any existing court orders. If there are existing court orders in place you may not need to apply for a court order.

If you believe that your former partner (who doesn’t have parental responsibility) will take your child without applying for a court order, then you can make an application to the court for a specific issue or prohibited steps order.

Additionally, you may not have parental responsibility to object to the holiday. In this case, you can apply for a court order to stop the holiday. You must have a legitimate concern for the child before applying for a court order. An example could be the fear of child abduction.

If you have a Child Arrangement Order or a Residence Order, stating that your child is living in your residence, then the circumstances are slightly different. If you have either of these orders then you can take the child out of the country for a maximum of 28 days, without any permission. An exception to this rule would be if the court has specifically told you that you cannot do this. 

You do not require permission if you wish to take your child on holiday within England and Wales. However, you may have a court order detailing the time you get your child. Therefore, if the holiday will impact the court agreement, you will need to inform the other parent of your plans.

If the other parent does not permit you to take your child on holiday, you will need to ask the court for permission.

You should not take your child outside of England and Wales without permission. Therefore, you must obtain permission from the people who have parental responsibility. Without permission, you will be committing a Child Abduction Offence.

Cartwright King – Expert Family Law Solicitors.           

At Cartwright King we understand that family cases are unique to each person. Therefore, our Family Law Solicitors provide legal expertise with compassion and care. For a consultation about your child agreements, or your Separated Parent’s Legal Holiday Rights, call the experienced lawyers at Cartwright King on 03458 941 622 or request a call back online today and we will call you.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.