Posted On / 27.04.2017

Sun, Lotion, Passport .... Consent?

Georgina Bacon - Solicitor - Family DepartmentJetting off on a well deserved summer holiday with your children or grandchildren should be a happy experience even if it means lots of packing and organising.

For families who are separated, however, there can be more to consider than just passports, spending money, clothes, toys and sun cream.

Sadly there are cases where those who share parental responsibility simply cannot agree about plans to take a child out of the country.

In such situations, where a relationship has completely broken down, there can be genuine legal implications involved in a trip however innocent.

Written consent to remove a child from the jurisdiction of England and Wales, even if only to Scotland or Ireland, will need to be granted by all who share parental responsibility. However, it will not be required if the child is subject to a Child Arrangements Order or a Residence Order and the holiday is for four weeks or less.

Consent in writing will help to avoid any suggestion that a parent has abducted the child and so offset any risk of criminal charges.

If consent is not granted, you will need to apply for a Specific Issue Order from the Court. Time can often be a critical factor so best to apply well ahead of the date of the holiday.

If on the other hand you are the parent objecting to a child being taken on holiday it is possible to apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. The Court will only tend to grant this if there are concerns over safeguarding or a fear of permanent removal. Otherwise it is likely that the Court will consider the holiday to be in the best interests of the child.

Permanent removal is considered a separate legal matter. It requires an extensive review of the facts by the Court and can take considerable time.

If you have any legal concerns about taking a child out of the jurisdiction of England and Wales, please contact us. Battens Solicitors Family Department provides practical legal advice and representation on all aspects of family law including children.

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