Posted by Gemma Rowe on 30th August 2022
Do I need permission from my ex if I want to take my child on holiday outside of the UK?

Although the summer hols are almost over, you may be thinking about taking an overseas break in the October half term holiday, Christmas or thinking ahead to next year. And why not?

If you have recently separated you may well need consent of the other parent before you take your child abroad. This depends on whether there are any court orders, child arrangement orders or residence orders in place and who has parental responsibility.

Parental responsibility is automatically given to mothers, and fathers who are named on the birth certificate or were married to the mother when the child was born. It can be granted to guardians too, if necessary.

If you don’t have parental responsibility, you must have the permission of the other parent or guardian who does have parental responsibility in order to take the child out of the country.

If they are happy for you to go ahead, it is advisable – and sometimes a requirement – to give them details of the travel, accommodation and contact arrangements before you go, as well as the children’s return date.

What happens if one parent does not give consent?

While often a parent will be fine with you taking the child on holiday overseas, if they don’t give consent for some reason, you will need to make a formal application to the Court to apply for a Specific Issue Order to allow the Court to look at the issue and consider whether it is in the child’s best interests to go, or not.

It is a criminal and arrestable offence to take a child out of the UK without the consent of the other parent and/or everyone with parental responsibility. If you do, the other parent can issue child abduction proceedings to secure the child’s return. You may also be refused entry to the destination country if you don’t have the correct documentation.

Do I still need the consent of the other parent if there already is an existing Child Arrangement Live with Order in place?

If you have already been involved in Court proceedings and there is an existing Child Arrangements Live With Order in place confirming that the child lives with you, you can take the child out of the UK for a period of less than one month (less than 28 days). So you are able to take your child on holiday out of the UK without the need to obtain the other parent’s consent.

Even if you have a Live with Order, if you want to take the child outside of the UK for more than one month, you must still apply to the Court for a Specific Issue Order for the Court to consider the proposal and decide whether it is appropriate.

The reason for these measures being in place is to minimise the risk of child abduction. If you believe your child is at risk of abduction by your ex-partner or another party, contact a solicitor immediately. They will help you take the necessary steps to protect the child.


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