Complicated childcare arrangements, financial pressures and trying to keep bored children occupied are issues faced by all parents.
But for lone parents it’s even more difficult.
Here’s information on when you can take a child on holiday, whose permission is required and how you can prevent a parent from taking a child outside of England and Wales.
Clare Pilsworth, from Cambridge solicitors Woodfines, explains what you need to do, reports The Cambridge News.
What rights do you have?
Parental responsibility is defined in the Children’s Act 1989. In practice it means that anyone with parental responsibility has a right to take part in the major decisions in their child’s life. The child’s mother always has parental responsibility.
The child’s father has responsibility if:
- He is married to the mother at the time of the birth (and under English law if he marries the mother later on)
- He is on the birth certificate (for births registered in England and Wales after December 1 2003)
- He and the mother have signed a parental responsibility agreement
- The court has made a parental responsibility order in the father’s favour.
What legal issues could you face?
A parent can take their child (aged under 16) anywhere in England and Wales without the permission of the other person with parental responsibility – as long as there is not order in place prohibiting this. But everyone who has parental responsibility must agree to a child being taken abroad.
A parent may also need permission from anyone else who has parental responsibility e.g. a guardian.
So could you be breaking the law?
It is a criminal offence to remove a child even for a short holiday abroad, without the consent of the other parent, consent from the court or having a formal ‘lives with child arrangements order’ in place. If consent is not given you could be prosecuted for child abduction.
What is a Child Arrangement Order ?
A parent can take a child abroad for up to 28 days without getting permission if they have this order in place. It must state that the child is to live with that parent, and there must be no other court orders that prohibit the child being taken abroad.
Do you have to go through the courts?
Ideally, providing the other parent with information such as the destination, date of departure and return, travel details, accommodation address and contact telephone number should be sufficient. Even so it makes sense to get an acknowledgment signed by the other parent, and to take a copy of this on the trip.
What if you don’t gain consent?
If the other parent doesn’t give their consent, it is possible to seek permission from the court to take a child outside England and Wales for a temporary period under a Specific Issue Order. If the other parent objects, they can apply to the court for a Prohibited Steps Order.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding parental abduction to or from The UK feel free to contact us 24 / 7. We are always available at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)