If there is a Court Order in place giving permission to either parent to take a child abroad for up to 28 days then no further permission is required.  However in most cases there will not be a Court Order and therefore, in such cases, the permission of everyone with parental responsibility is required before a child can be taken abroad.   If permission is not obtained it is a criminal offence to take a child abroad.

Who has parental responsibility?

Mothers automatically have parental responsibility.

Both parents will have parental responsibility if they were married at or after the date of the child’s birth.

Both parents will have parental responsibility if they are named on the child’s birth certificate.

If the father is not named on the child’s birth certificate, has never been married to the mother and does not have a Parental Responsibility Order or a formal Parental Responsibility Agreement, the father will not have parental responsibility.

What do I do if I do not have the other parent’s consent?

You should approach the other parent to try and obtain their consent.  If this is not forthcoming, you should make an appointment with a mediator who will invite the other parent to attend a joint meeting and will see whether an agreement can be reached.  If no agreement is reached you will need to make an application to Court for a Specific Issue Order (you must have attended a mediation appointment before the application can be made, except in certain circumstances). The Court will list a Court hearing giving notice to the other parent so they can explain the reason for their objections.  It will be up to the Judge to make a decision based on the facts of the case, having heard both parties’ evidence.  The Judge will be interested in whether or not the proposed trip is to a Hague Convention Country. If the trip is to a country that is not a signatory of the Hague Convention then the Court is may well not agree that the child can go on the trip.

What if my planned holiday is in less than 6 weeks?

You can ask the Court to list an urgent hearing but the other parent will still need to be given sufficient notice.

What do I need if I do have the other parent’s consent?

This depends on the airport, the airline, and the country you are flying to. You should contact the airport and the airline to find out what they will need from the other parent to confirm their consent to the trip. Ordinarily a letter signed by the other parent providing their permission will suffice.  Please note that if you are travelling to South Africa with a child, even if there is a Court Order in place, both parents must execute a formal Parental Consent Affidavit to enable the child to travel.


If you have any queries about this, or any other Family Law matter, contact a member of the Team:-

Richard Rodway, tel. 01491 570900

Julia Drury, tel. 0118 920 9491

Briony Hawker, tel. 0118 338 3261

Ruby Tufail, tel. 0118 920 9494

Or contact us via the website by clicking here