Q: My boyfriend and I want to take his 10-year-old son skiing with us at Christmas, but his ex is being difficult about it as she says it isn’t in the ‘terms of the arrangements’ that he spends more than one day with his father at Christmas. Obviously, we need to get the holiday booked. Will my boyfriend have to apply to the Court for permission to take his son out of the country and extend his stay with him?
A: It really depends on who has parental responsibility for the boy. Mothers have automatic parental responsibility. Fathers have parental responsibility if they were married to the child’s mother before or after the birth, if their name is on the birth certificate, if a Parental Responsibility Order has been granted by the Court, or if they have obtained a Parental Responsibility Agreement from the mother.
If the boy’s mother has sole parental responsibility and refuses to give her consent to the trip, then your boyfriend will have to apply to the Court for permission to take him out of the country. Even if both parents have responsibility, if there is a Child Arrangement Order in place, only the parent who has a Child Residence Order (i.e. with whom the child usually lives) can take the child out of the country with permission of the other parent.
Your boyfriend may also need to apply to the Court for a variation if there is a child arrangement Order in place that restricts visitation with him. Unfortunately, these applicationscan take several months, so your boyfriend should make an appointment to see a family solicitor for advice as soon as possible.
In the normal course of events, permission for a child to go abroad on holiday is invariably given by a Court, though details are often required stating where the child will be staying, together with departure and return dates, details of flights, and contact telephone numbers.
This question has been answered by Deon Hayward, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email.