This year the travel industry has boomed, with many of us taking the opportunity to enjoy overseas holidays once again during a summer free from Covid-19 restrictions.
It is important for separated parents to ensure that they take the necessary documents with them before travelling abroad, particularly when parents do not share the same surname as their child. Otherwise, this can cause issues at the airport during security and airline checks, and you may be prevented from leaving the country instead of travelling to your desired destination.
Documents you may wish to take with you include, but should not be limited to:
- Your child’s birth certificate
- Proof of your change of name if you previously shared the same surname as your child
- A signed letter from the child’s other parent confirming their consent for the child to travel abroad for the agreed holiday dates and destination
Please note that if a parent takes a child abroad without the consent of the other parent (who shares parental responsibility for the child), or the consent of the family court, the parent removing the child abroad will be committing the civil and criminal offence of child abduction. This is why airports take their checks so seriously, and it’s important to take necessary steps prior to travelling to ensure that there aren’t any issues preventing you from leaving the country.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for parents to inadvertently commit the civil and criminal offence of child abduction, particularly when going on a short holiday. If you are unsure as to whether you or the other parent have parental responsibility for your child, or if there is a Child Arrangements Order in place, you should seek advice as to whether you need to obtain consent to take your child abroad, or whether your own consent is required in order for the other parent to take your child abroad.
We can advise you about what format the consent letter from the other parent should take. A letter may or may not be required, so it is important that you take legal advice on this issue before leaving the country or approaching the other parent.