There is a lot to consider before taking a family vacation overseas, but if one of the parents is divorced or if your surname is different from that of the kids, there are some extra things to keep in mind to make sure you have the right permission and can prevent potential problems. To help you navigate your post-divorce international travel with children, SGT Law Firm has put together a list of frequently asked questions.

Do I still need my ex-spouse’s consent to take our children on international vacation after separation or divorce?

Yes. To take the child overseas, you must get the consent of the parents or legal guardians.

The only scenario in which this isn’t true is when the parent who is taking the children on the trip has a child arrangement order specifying that the children must stay with them. In this case, they are allowed to take the child abroad for up to 28 days without the other parent’s permission.

Why do I need my ex’s consent to take our children on a trip abroad?

It’s necessary to get approval to take your kids overseas if you share parental responsibility for them. If you don’t, you could face child kidnapping charges in court.

What is considered “Abroad”?

Anywhere outside of the UK is considered to be abroad. The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are not part of the UK. The United Kingdom is made up of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Island. But it’s important to keep in mind that they don’t all have the same legal structure. Moving a child from one legal system in the UK to another may be considered travelling “abroad,” similar to moving from England or Wales to Scotland.

How can I get permission to take our kids on a trip abroad?

If it would be more appropriate, you can ask your ex-partner personally for permission to take your kids on a trip abroad. Written authorisation is required.

How can I verify whether I am their legal parent?

Mothers are usually given parental responsibility, as are dads who are either listed as the child’s father on the birth certificate or who are already married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth. A Parental Responsibility Agreement or a court order could be used to establish parental responsibility.

Your ex-partner does not need to give you consent to take your child on a trip abroad when you’re the only parent with parental rights and there are no court orders in place. However, it is recommended that you inform them of your plans.

What travel-related documents should I bring?

At the UK or foreign border, officials may request documentation of your relationship to and authorisation to travel with your children. Therefore, it is recommended that you bring the necessary papers to ensure that you are prepared and avoid unpleasant situations. This consists:

Even though it may seem risky to travel with important documents, you fear being turned away from your preferred destination if you don’t have the necessary documentation.

Can I go abroad if my last name is different from my children’s?

Parents usually have different last names than their children. However, there remain cases where parents who do not share the same surname as their children are required to show proof of their right to bring their children along on a trip by UK or foreign border control. Although it makes sense that these inspections are being done to prevent kidnapping, they may conflict with mutually agreed-upon family vacations.

Having the right papers can reduce stress, upset, and even the possibility of missing a trip! Since official authorities will need to be content with your relationship with the children,  It is advised that you carry: 

Depending on your children’s ages, it might also be helpful to let them know that immigration officials might interrogate them and to comfort them that they shouldn’t be worried and to answer truthfully.

How long may I leave for? Is there a time constraint?

If you have the approval of your ex-partner, who is also the parent of your children, there is probably no time limit on how long you can stay on vacation.

Unless the court orders differently, you may take your child overseas for up to 28 days without the other parent’s consent if the order indicates that the child would be to live solely with you.

What if my ex-partner opposed travelling abroad?

You will need to file a request to the court for the court’s approval before you can go if your ex-partner has parental rights and opposes and you do not have an order indicating the child resides only with you.

The court will evaluate whether the trip is in the children’s best interests, and if there are no concerns about a youngster not being picked up upon return, it will usually grant authorisation for international travel.

Contact Us

Please contact our SGT Law Firm Team if you have any questions about taking your children on a trip after a divorce or legal separation.