What happens when separated families try to go holidaying?

Holiday with a separated family? Not as easy as you think

Gary Crothers, Solicitor Advocate (Higher Courts Civil Proceedings) and family law specialist at Wosskow Brown, discusses parental responsibility.

Sun cream? Check.  Passport? Check.  Flip flops? Check.  With the summer holidays fast approaching, the more organised among you will already be gathering together the essentials to ensure your time away runs as smoothly – and is therefore as enjoyable – as possible.

But if you have split from your children’s mother or father and are planning to take the kids abroad for a well-deserved break, there are some legal obligations that you may need to consider.

To be able to take your children out of the country, you must have consent from everyone who has parental responsibility, or a court order which allows you to do so.  Court Orders can take some time to obtain, so if you have already booked a holiday, don’t wait any longer to get the necessary documents in place.

If the other parent does not agree with your plans, you may be able to apply to the courts for a Specific Issue Order which, if granted, would give you permission to take the children out of England and Wales.

In most circumstances, the courts will generally feel that it is in the best interests of the children to be able to enjoy a holiday with one parent.  This is assuming that there are no concerns for the children’s safety, and provided that there are no concerns that the children will not be returned at the end of your break.  These issues can make matters more complex and take longer to deal with.

In any event, we would strongly suggest that you do not book any holidays until the arrangements have been agreed or a court order is in place.  If the order is not made in time you may miss your holiday.

As well as offering advice regarding taking children on holiday, we can advise on all child-related legal issues.  This includes Child Arrangement Orders (formerly known as Contact Orders) which states where the child lives, how much time they spend with each parent and what other contact they can have.

To find out more about any legal matters concerning children, call your local branch and ask to speak to the family team.


Gary Crothers  - 0114 256 6582


Karen Brookes - 01226 399 824

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