Many families are making plans for the duration of the summer holidays as schools in England and Wales shall shortly be breaking up for their summer holidays.

If you have recently separated from your spouse/partner then you may wish to make plans to take your children on holiday but are unsure of your rights, whether you can take them abroad for a long weekend or for a holiday to Spain or even to visit relatives in the States.

If both parents have parental responsibility for the children and their are no court orders in places (relating to the children) then it is necessary to obtain the consent from everyone who has parental responsibility. It is advisable to seek their consent prior to booking any holiday.

Some parents have difficulty in communicating with their ex as a result of a painful, difficult and /or a bitter relationship breakup, so obtaining consent to take the children away on holiday may be problematic.

It is therefore wise to try and resolve the issues as quickly as possible if  a Court Order is required for this or even subsequent holidays (and potentially to regulate contact) then this can be costly and cannot be done in 2-3 weeks . It may be wise as the holidays are quickly approaching to seek immediate advice from a Solicitor, to try and help to resolve the issue of consent or even for your matter to be refered to a mediator in the hope that an independent party whether it be a Solicitor or Mediator may be able to assist in resolving the matter of consent.

If it is necessary to make an application to the Court and there is sufficient time prior to the proposed holiday then the Court will consider whether it is reasonable and in the child’s best interests to go on holiday . If the order is granted then the Court will usually set conditions to include leaving emergency details with the parent that remains at home, including details of the accommodation , flight times and so forth.

If a Child Arrangements Order is in place then the parent with whom the Child lives is permitted to remove the child from England and Wales for upto 1 month (30 days) without the consent of any other person who has parental responsibility. Child Arrangements orders can appear to be confusing and in some cases the child is said to live with both parents albeit that they have separated, therefore if a Child Arrangements order is in place then it is vital to clarify whether the Child lives with you and has contact with the other parent or whether they are said to live with you both. It is good practice to obtain consent from all parties with parental responsibility to avoid potential allegations of child abduction.

In Summary

It is best to try and coordinate with your ex partner in advance of all school holidays each year to work out a holiday plan for the school year so that you both know when you can have the children and when you can take them abroad on holiday. If there are any problems then you can seek assistance and advice from a Solicitor specialising in Family Law.