What do we do about taking our children on holidays if we are separated?

If you have separated from your partner, spouse, or civil partner, and you have children together, you will need to decide the arrangements for who your children live with and when they spend time with the other parent after you have separated.

Good Practice

If you would like to take your children on holiday within the UK, it is good practice to speak to the other parent first to make them aware of your plans and about making up any time with your children that they would miss whilst they are on holiday with you, and perhaps to have a telephone or video call during this time.

If it is not possible to agree the arrangements with the other parent either directly or via mediation or solicitors, you will need to apply to the court for a specific issue order where you will explain why you want to take your children abroad and you will need to provide details of your travel plans, where you are staying, who you are going with, and how long you are going there for. The court will consider both party’s views and then make a decision about whether you can proceed.

If you are having difficulties with agreeing the arrangements for your children with the other parent more generally, and these arrangements cannot be agreed via mediation or solicitors, you may need to apply to the court for a child arrangements order (“CAO”). The court will make a decision about who your children should live with and when they should spend time with their other parent, after considering evidence from Cafcass, who are the court appointed social workers, each parent, and any other experts if required.

What if we have a CAO?

If the CAO names you as the parent who your children live with, the benefit is that you will have the right to take your children abroad for up to 28 days without the need for permission from the other parent. You should again speak to the other parent first in any event if you do decide to take your children abroad, so they are aware of their whereabouts and because the holiday may change the usual contact arrangements.

If you are not named in the CAO as the person, or one of the people, who your children live with, you will not have the right to take them abroad and you would need to seek consent from the other parent first. If you would like to take your children abroad for longer than one month, even if the CAO states that your children live with you, you will still need to apply to the court for a specific issue order in the same way.

For advice and guidance contact our Family Law team on 0345 20 73 72 8 or email info@thursfields.co.uk

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