Can I take my child on holiday without the mother’s consent?

 Can I take my child on holiday without the mother’s consent?

Have the winter blues got you thinking about planning your summer getaway? With January finally out of the way, weekend plans are filling up and many families are turning their attention towards this year’s summer holidays. For families who have separated or divorced it is important to get organised early. As a father who has separated from his child’s mother, you need to agree with the mother that you can treat your children to a summer holiday abroad this year.

Planning your holiday as a single parent.

When it comes to booking your summer holiday there are no end of decisions to make including; the destination, dates, cost and duration. Being separated or divorced only adds to the complexity of this planning because you need to factor in your ex-partners commitments as well as your own.

To be able to take a child on holiday abroad, you must seek permission from everyone with parental responsibility over the child.

As a father do I have parental responsibility?

Mothers are granted parental responsibility automatically upon the birth of a child. A father has parental responsibility if he is married to the mother of the child or is listed on the child’s birth certificate.  Following a divorce or separation, both parents retain their parental responsibility.

Before booking a holiday, it is important to gain consent from the child’s mother and reach an agreement together with regards to the logistics. It is important to plan ahead because if an agreement is not reached and court involvement is required, it will delay matters.

How can I reach an agreement on holiday arrangements with my child’s mother?

If the relationship has remained amicable following a divorce or separation, it may be feasible to agree on holiday arrangements verbally.

Mediation is an alternative route to use in reaching an agreement if you cannot agree alone.  A mediator can help you and your ex-partner reach an agreement and they must remain unbiased throughout the process.

If you are able to reach an agreement either directly or through mediation you can instruct a solicitor to draft a child arrangements agreement that you can both sign. Whilst not a Court order, this will detail the agreements reached and can be produced to the Court should there be any future disagreements.

If having tried mediation, an agreement still cannot be reached, it may be necessary to make an application to the court for a child arrangement order to be put in place. You must be able to evidence that you attended a mediation assessment meeting before applying to the court and if court proceedings do go ahead, be mindful that this can take some time and will not be actioned immediately. 

Support from Lawson-West Solicitors

If you have any questions relating to child arrangement orders, parental responsibility, taking your child away on holiday or anything else within this article, do not hesitate to get in touch. You can speak to Sarah or Elizabeth based at our Wigston office on 0116 212 1080, James based at our Leicester office on 0116 212 1000 or Alistair in Market Harborough on 01858 445480. Alternatively complete our online contact form and we will call you instead. 

Holidays are fast approaching don’t delay making your arrangements.


This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.

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