Many parents wish to take their children abroad. This may be on holiday, to visit relatives or in some cases, to live in a different country. Whilst the prospects of this are exciting, it is important that you are aware of and consider the legal implications of taking your child abroad. This is especially important if you are separated from the child’s other parent.
If there are no Court orders in place, you must make sure that you obtain consent from every person who has Parental Responsibility for the child that they can go abroad. This must be done if you are planning on being abroad for more than one month or plan to live abroad. If you do not obtain consent and you take your child abroad, you could face prosecution and, in some cases, if found guilty, may be sentenced to imprisonment. If you request consent from the other people with Parental Responsibility for your child and they refuse to provide their consent, an application will need to be made to the Court for permission to take the child abroad. We can assist you with this and provide you with legal advice in this situation.
There may be situations where the only person with Parental Responsibility is the child’s mother and if this is the case, she does not legally need permission to take the child abroad. However, it is good parenting practice to still consult with the child’s other parent and seek their consent to take the child abroad.
The situation is different if there is a Child Arrangements Order in place. If you have a Child Arrangements Order in place that the child is to live with you, then you are able to take the child abroad for a period of up to one month without the consent of everyone else with Parental Responsibility. However again, it is good parenting practice to endeavour to agree the arrangements with the other parent in advance, even if the time spent abroad will be less than one month.
If a grandparent or any other family members wishes to take a child abroad, consent will be needed from all people with Parental Responsibility for the child.
If you wish to take your child to live in another country, you will need consent of the other people with Parental Responsibility or a Court Order in order to take the child to live permanently abroad.
If you ask the other people with Parental Responsibility for their consent and they do not respond or you cannot get hold of them, you must show that you have made reasonable efforts to contact them to obtain their permission. If you ask someone for their consent and they do not agree, they must give a good reason why they are refusing to allow you to take your child abroad. They cannot unreasonably refuse or say no without giving a good reason.
For all cases, whether there are Court Orders in place or not, it is best to agree any arrangements for going abroad in advance to avoid misunderstandings, issues with contact, possibly accusations of abduction and applications having to be made to the Court.
For further information and specific legal advice on taking your child/ren abroad, contact our office on 0151 236 1234 and an appointment can be made for you with one of our Solicitors