Katie Taft
Partner, Solicitor & Mediator
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Date Published:28 Nov 2016 Last Updated:13 Apr 2021

Can I take my child abroad?

Family Law

Can I take my child abroad?

This is a question we are frequently asked by parents and the answer is often not straight forward.

The answer also depends on whether you wish to take your child abroad for a holiday or for a longer period.

Holidays

If you have a Child Arrangements Order (or Residence Order) you can take a child out of England and Wales for up to one month without the consent of the other parent.

If there are no Court Orders in place, you will require the permission of the other parent (or anyone else with Parental Responsibility) in order to take your child on holiday outside of England and Wales.

What if the other parent won’t agree to me taking our child on holiday?

If the other parent won’t agree to you taking the child on holiday, then you will need permission from the Court. This will mean making an application for a Specific Issue Order. The Court will weigh up all of the circumstances in deciding whether or not to agree to the holiday.

Can I stop my child being taken abroad?

If you do not agree to your child being taken abroad for a holiday then you should refuse to give your consent. If you think there is a risk that the other parent will try and take your child abroad without your agreement then you will need to apply for a Prohibited Steps Order and in the most urgent situations, a Port Alert to prevent a child being taken out of the country.

Taking a child to live abroad

Both parents need to consent to a child going to live in another country. If one parent does not consent then the Court will need to decide. This involves making an application for ‘Leave to Remove’ a child from England and both parents will require specialist advice given the very serious consequences of the Court’s decision for your child’s future.

What should I do if my child has been taken abroad without my agreement?

It is very important to act quickly if your child has been taken abroad without your agreement. This is defined as Child Abduction and there are international treaties in place to ensure they are returned as quickly as possible.

Katie Taft is an expert in cases involving children being taken abroad. She has been involved in a number of Court of Appeal decisions in relation to the international movement of children and regularly acts for parents who do not agree as to where their child should live. Should you require any further advice or assistance please don’t hesitate to contact Katie on 01202 636 223 or by email at katie.taft@ellisjones.co.uk