Can I Travel Abroad with My Child After Separation?

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It can be challenging to navigate new situations after separating from your former partner, especially when children are involved.

There are lots of decisions that still need to be made jointly, including travelling with your children. Regardless of whether you are planning a holiday or considering travelling in the future, it is helpful to know where you stand.

We discuss some of the common questions concerning travelling with children after separation in this article.

While we hope this will be helpful, it should not be taken as legal advice. If you need any further support, our family law solicitors will be happy to support you further.

To speak to one of our experts, please contact us today by calling 0800 1584147, emailing or requesting a call back.

Do I need permission from the other parent to travel abroad with my child?

If you’re travelling abroad with your child after separation, you will need permission from the other parent if you both share parental responsibility.

When discussing this with the other parent, you should provide all the details of the trip, such as travel dates, flight information, and accommodation, and request written confirmation of their consent for the holiday.

Some exceptions to this may apply if you have sole custody or a court order allowing you to travel without consent.

If you do not obtain permission from the other parent or the court, your actions could be classed as child abduction, which can have serious legal consequences.

What is parental responsibility and who has it?

Parental responsibility refers to the legal rights and obligations a parent has for their child’s upbringing. This includes the responsibility of making important decisions about the child’s life.

A mother automatically has parental responsibility for her child from birth, while a father usually has parental responsibility if he is married to the child’s mother or listed on the birth certificate.

For individuals who do not automatically have parental responsibility, such as unmarried fathers or other guardians, it is possible to apply for parental responsibility through the courts.

This requires a formal legal process to establish and confirm their rights and responsibilities towards the child.

What can I do if the other parent refuses to give permission?

If the other parent refuses to give permission for you to travel abroad with your child after separation, you can apply to the court for a Specific Issue Order.

This order allows the court to decide if the trip is in the child’s best interests. When applying, you should provide details of your travel plans, reasons for the trip, and how it benefits your child.

Providing there are no safeguarding issues or risks to the child’s safety, the judge may favour allowing the child to travel abroad. However, it’s advisable to seek legal guidance to strengthen your case.

Maintaining open communication and attempting mediation with the other parent beforehand may also help resolve the issue without legal intervention.

What is a Child Arrangement Order and how does it affect travel plans?

A Child Arrangement Order is a court order that sets out who a child will live with, spend time with, and have contact with. It can also include provisions about travel.

If you have a Child Arrangement Order, you may not need the other parent’s permission for certain trips, depending on the order’s terms.

However, for international travel, you usually still need either the other parent’s consent or a court order.

The Child Arrangement Order ensures that travel plans align with the child’s best interests and provides legal clarity on parental responsibilities and rights regarding travel decisions.

What happens if I take my child abroad without the other parent’s consent?

Taking a child out of the country without the other parent’s consent or court approval could be considered child abduction, a serious offence that can lead to criminal charges.

Beyond potential legal consequences, this may affect your reputation in future court proceedings related to your child and could harm your co-parenting relationship, which is unlikely to be in your child’s best interest in the long term.

Get in touch with our family law solicitors

Looking for legal advice and support with child arrangements in Gloucester, Cheltenham, the Forest of Dean or anywhere in Gloucestershire?

Please contact our family law solicitors today by calling 0800 1584147, emailing or requesting a call back.

To contact us please call 0800 158 4147 or 03330 145451 or email

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