Parents should ensure they get written consent before taking their children outside the jurisdiction of England and Wales, an expert family solicitor from law firm Shakespeare Martineau has warned.
Stephanie Kyriacou, family associate at Shakespeare Martineau, said: “You must get permission of everyone with parental responsibility for a child or from a court before taking the child abroad, especially if there is a possibility that verbal permission could be withdrawn before travel.
“This doesn’t have to follow a particular format but should include full details of the holiday, including when and where you plan to go, why and for how long.
“Consent is not legally required by the other parent if the holiday is for less than 28 days and a child arrangements order (court order) is already in place to confirm the child lives with the parent taking them on holiday, but it is always better to have written consent.”
While term times across the country differs, most schools in England and Wales will break up for the summer holidays around Friday, 21 July or before. Stephanie has also provided further tips to support parents navigate the school holidays.
Stephanie said: “If recently separated, the thought of dealing with child arrangements can be a daunting prospect. However, it is crucial to remember that children’s welfare and best interests should always be the main priority.
“Parents should work together to come up with a plan that makes their children as happy and as comfortable as possible. Planning ahead is always recommended, especially when it comes to trips abroad. Written consent could save you thousands of pounds in wasted costs, as well as uncomfortable questions at border control.
“Ensure any agreement contains sufficient detail to limit the possibility of conflict and confusion. For example, clearly state the location where handovers will be taking place and set out the times for collection and drop off.
“Each family is different so try not to compare your arrangement with others. Some families are able to share the school holidays 50-50. However, this may not work for others. Unless there are particular circumstances that prevent this from being possible or safeguarding concerns, it is generally reasonable for children to spend at least one or possibly two consecutive weeks with each parent.
“If you are able to reach a suitable parenting plan with your ex-partner, there is absolutely no need for the court or lawyers to get involved. In the unfortunate scenario where you cannot agree matters with your ex-partner, it is advisable to seek legal advice from a family law specialist.”