Summer holidays, children’s arrangements and passports: advice to separated families

Separated parents do not always look forward to the six-week summer holidays as discussions surrounding who will take the children away, and when, can cause difficulties.  Advance notice is key to try and reach agreement in plenty of time, so that holidays can be booked, and all necessary details are provided.

When making summer holiday arrangements, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities.  Parental responsibility sets out a parent’s rights, duties, and responsibilities for the child. When you share parental rights and responsibilities with another person, you are required to consider their views.  Any major decisions affecting the child must be discussed and communication is the key to keeping any disputes at bay.

Negotiation and discussion between parents will be paramount to deciding how to split the amount of time the child will spend with each parent and what weeks each parent will have the child.  Your child’s physical and mental wellbeing should be at the core of the decision-making process, along with practical arrangements taking into account both parents working pattern.

Travelling abroad – Passports

If both parents have parental responsibility and there is no court order in place, both parents have the same legal status and consent should be obtained firstly before taking the holiday.   Make sure that you have all the correct paperwork in place which shows that you can travel overseas with the child, to include passports and in some cases a written letter from the other parent, particularly if the child has a different surname to you.

The parent with custody of the child has the authority to refuse to allow the child out of the country, regardless of who holds the passport. Equally, the parent who does not have custody of the child can apply for a court order to prevent the parent with custody from leaving the country if they have genuine fear they may be moving abroad.  Also, the parent being refused the holiday can also make an application to the court seeking the court’s permission to take the child away.

If you cannot agree

If you are experiencing difficulties in reaching an agreement, it is important to seek legal advice. At Woodfines we have an experienced family team to assist in your situation and to provide comprehensive advice to help resolve the issues.

Anushri Maynard

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