Can I travel abroad with my child after divorce?

25 November 2022

While preparing to travel abroad is often filled with excitement and anticipation, it is important for those separated parents or those with a different surname to that of their children to make sure the necessary paperwork is in place to avoid unnecessary stress. Below are the six most frequently asked questions in respect of taking children abroad following a divorce.

What is considered as “abroad”?

Travelling abroad encompasses travelling to anywhere outside of the UK, including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

Do I need permission from my ex?

You need permission from anyone who has parental responsibility over the child, unless you have a Child Arrangements Order stating that the child must live solely with you. If you have a Child Arrangements Order stating that the child must live solely with you, then you can take the child abroad for a maximum of 28 days without the consent of the other parent.

Failure to get permission from the other parties with parental responsibility, where necessary, could lead to criminal charges for child abduction.

How do I get permission from my ex and how should the permission be documented?

You can get the permission from your ex (or any other parties with parental responsibility) by asking them directly or through solicitors. It is important, however, that the permission is documented in writing.

What documents do I need?

You may be asked for evidence that you are permitted to travel with the child and/or evidence of your relationship to them. This may happen at the UK boarder or the foreign boarder. Although the following documents may not always be asked for, it is wise to consider taking them to avoid any complications. Photocopies and/or digital copies should be accepted.

  • Written consent to the trip from those with parental responsibility and a copy of their ID. This should be a physical copy.
  • Full contact details of the above consenting party with parental responsibility.
  • Divorce or marriage certificate if you and the child do not share a surname.
  • Details of the trip, including the return ticket back to the UK.

Is there a time limit on how long I can take the child abroad for?

There is no limit on the amount of time you can take your child abroad for, provided that you have the written consent of those with parental responsibility to the entire duration of your intended trip.

If you have a Child Arrangements Order stating that the child is to live solely with you, then you can take the child abroad for a maximum of 28 days without the consent of the other parent (unless a further Order says you cannot).

What should I do if my ex refuses to give permission?

If the other party with parental responsibility does not consent to you taking the child abroad, and you do not have a Child Arrangements Order stating that the child should live solely with you, then you may need to make an application to the Court for the Court’s permission before you travel. The Court will then grant or deny you permission to take the child abroad.

For further information, please contact our team.

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