Taking your children abroad: What you need to know?

Taking your children abroad: What you need to know?

As a Parent or Carer, there are million things to think about when planning a holiday abroad with your children, with suitcases, swimsuits, suncream, hats and entertainment, just for starters.

However, if you are a separated parent, there are additional considerations before travelling abroad with your children.


What should you think about when planning your holiday?

You should consider who else has Parental Rights and Responsibilities for your children. Mothers have automatic Parental Rights and Responsibilities in respect of any biological child. The child’s father will also have Parental Rights and Responsibilities provided that they are named on the child’s birth certificate.

Grandparents, Step-Parents, Aunts and Uncles do not have any automatic Parental Rights or Responsibilities, but may be granted them by the Court in certain circumstances.


What should you do before your holiday?

In Scotland, the law provides that no person is entitled to take a child, that normally

lives in Scotland, outside of the United Kingdom without the consent of all other persons who hold Parental Rights and Responsibilities for the child/children.

As such, if you are looking to travel overseas and someone else has Parental Rights and Responsibilities for your child/children, you should obtain their formal written consent before booking your holiday and most certainly before travelling.


What if my ex won’t consent to the holiday?

Where consent is not provided for you to take your child on holiday abroad, or where you know in advance that consent may not be forthcoming, you should instruct a solicitor to advise you as to your rights and options. Your solicitor can first try to assist you in negotiating with the other person who has parental rights and responsibilities.  If this approach is unsuccessful, or if time is of the essence, you may need to instruct a Solicitor to raise a Court action to seek a Specific Issue Order for you.  A Specific Issue Order, if granted by the Sheriff, would give you the courts permission to travel abroad with your child for the purposes of a holiday.

When considering a request like this, a Sheriff will consider what is in the child’s best interests, as their paramount concern.  The Sheriff will consider the nature of the country being visited, looking at any instability political or otherwise.  The Court will also look at the opportunity for the child/children to experience new cultures, have learning opportunities, as well as the opportunity to spend time quality time with the parent or with other family members.

The Court will also be mindful of any potential risk that a child might not be returned to the United Kingdom, following the holiday.

Finally, depending upon their age and stage of development the Sheriff will consider the views of the child.

For detailed advice about your own circumstances, you can contact a member of Macleod & MacCallum’s Family Law team on 01463 230 303 or by email on family@macandmac.co.uk .

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