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Can I take my child on holiday if I have parental responsibility?

Can I take my child on holiday if I have parental responsibility?

What is parental responsibility?

In law it means all of the rights, duties, powers, responsibility and authority that a parent has in relation to their child and their child’s property. There isn’t a set list of what the rights, duties and powers are but generally it relates to the following which is a non exhaustive list:

  • Education
  • Religion
  • Medical treatment
  • Surname
  • Moving outside of the UK
  • Discipline
  • Providing a home

Do you automatically have parental responsibility if you are a parent?

A mother always has parental responsibility but generally if you are a father and are not married to the mother or named on the birth certificate you will not have parental responsibility.

If you are a father and want to have parental responsibility you will need to either enter into a parental responsibility agreement with the mother or apply to the Court.

Holidays outside of England and Wales

If you are hoping to go on a holiday abroad this summer you will need to agree this with any other person with parental responsibility for your child. In law it is actually an offence to remove a child under 16 from the UK without the consent of any other person with parental responsibility.

The consent does not have to be in writing but it is worth trying to agree this in advance to avoid any last minute delays. If you believe

  • the other parent has consented
  • you have taken reasonable steps to communicate with them or
  • the other person has unreasonable refused to consent
  • then you will usually have a defence.

If both parents have parental responsibility and you have concerns that the other parent may be planning to remove the child from the UK without your consent then you may want to consider urgently applying to the Court for a prohibited steps order to prevent them from leaving.

If you have a child arrangement order setting out who the child is to live (what used to be a residence order) then you can remove the child from the UK for a period of up to one month without the consent of the other party.

If there is a child arrangement order setting out the contact arrangements (what used to be called a contact order) that the other person is to have and an extended holiday would interfere with this then you may need to consider practical arrangements to ensure that the contact is rearranged or made up.

If you do not have parental responsibility for the child the mother can act alone and does not need your consent to leave the jurisdiction.

If you require further advice or assistance with applying for parental responsibility, a child arrangement order, leave to remove from the jurisdiction or a prohibited steps order please contact our childcare solicitors on 03465 381381.