Despite it being relatively common for parents to have different names to their children, many are unaware that it can cause issues at the airport.
Now, a lawyer has warned mums and dads that they could ‘unknowingly end up embroiled in a child abduction case, be refused past check-in, or turned away at border control’ if they don’t have the right documents with them.
It’s estimated that around 600,000 parents have had to deal with being stopped, interrogated, or even turned away at border control.
One mother, Hannah Marshall from Wigan, told MEN that she and her daughter Lilly were stopped when coming home from Denmark because Lilly had her partner’s surname.
‘They looked at both mine and my daughter’s passports then asked me how I knew the little girl. When I said it was my daughter, they asked why I did not have the same last name,’ she said.
‘They told us that my partner should have taken her through passport control because I would need to prove she was my daughter. They checked my partner’s passport to prove she held the same last name, and then let us through.’
David Connor, who heads up the family department at Woodcocks Haworth and Nuttall Solicitors in Lancashire and Bury, said parents need to plan ahead – or risk being embroiled in a child abduction case.
‘For separated families, you’ll need evidence of approval from your child’s other parent, but remember to seek approval from everyone with parental responsibility,’ he said. ‘This may include grandparents too.
‘You’ll also need a copy of any Child Arrangement Order which proves you have court approval to take the child abroad.
‘It’s vital that all evidence marries up, and this is where divorced parents are often caught out – particularly women who revert back to their maiden name. A change of name deed will help here, which can be supplied by a solicitor.
‘Take a copy of your child’s birth certificate with you too to prove who you are.’