A ‘to do’ list for those planning holidays with children

It is the summer season, your sunny destination holiday has been booked, everybody is excited, and it is time to pack your bags. However, if for example you are a separated parent there may be a few extra items you require in your cabin bag.

First and foremost, you must get permission from everyone with parental responsibility to travel with a child, if this is refused, you can obtain an order from the court allowing you to do so. A child’s mother automatically has parental responsibility, this may not necessarily be the case for anybody else related to the child including their father. It is important to check who has parental responsibility for the child you wish to travel with.

The exception is where there is a Child Arrangements Order. If the order defines you as the person who the child ‘lives with’ unless the order states otherwise, you can take the child out of the country for a period of 28 days without the permission of anybody else.


If you have requested the permission of everyone with parental responsibility and there are no objections before you set off there are a few more boxes to tick. Have you got evidence to prove that you have their permission to travel? The current guidelines are to take the following;

  • Evidence of your relationship with the child e.g. birth or adoption certificate;
  • A divorce or marriage certificate if you are a single parent but your family name is different from your child’s;
  • A letter from all those with parental responsibility including contact details and details about the trip.

Application to the court

If things don’t quite go to plan, you have already booked your holiday and then discover that somebody with parental responsibility objects to the travel arrangements it is time to consider taking legal advice.

You can make an application to the Court for a Specific Issue Order. If permission for a child to travel is being unreasonably refused the Court can make an order for you to take a child abroad if they consider this to be in the child’s best interests. Life experiences such as holidays are often considered as enriching for children and will meet these criteria.

Planning a holiday should be an enjoyable experience so our top tip would be to get the admin done early. If you have doubts about any issues relating to parental responsibility it is best to seek advice from a solicitor. Hopefully, you will not face these difficulties but if you do it is better to be prepared. Sintons’ Family Law team can assist you with this.

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