Divorced parents could be arrested for taking their own children on holiday, warns solicitor

Divorcees should get written consent before taking their children on holiday outside England and Wales, an expert family solicitor has warned.

Failure to do so could lead to parents being detained, questioned and arrested at the port or border on suspicion of child abduction.

Karen Jeary, partner in the family and relationships team at law firm Mayo Wynne Baxter, said: "It is important for parents to plan ahead - especially for trips abroad. We always recommend getting written permission before purchasing any holidays or flights, especially if there is a chance that verbal permission could be withdrawn before travel.

"Even though it is a worst-case scenario, securing written permission from your former partner could save you thousands of pounds in wasted costs and uncomfortable questions at border control.

"There is no set format for this, but written permission should include full details of the holiday, including when and where you plan to go, why and for how long, together with a statement clearly setting out that the parent gives their consent to travel, and signed and dated."

While some families can share the school holidays equally, this is not always possible for all parents. Karen advises parents to work together on a clear plan which limits the possibility for misunderstanding and conflict.

She added: "The summer holidays can be a challenging time for parents, especially if they are recently separated. Parents should work together with their former partner to come up with a plan that works in the best interests of their children.

"Ensure any agreement contains sufficient detail to avoid any misunderstandings. For example, clearly state the location where handovers will take place and set the times for collection and drop off.

"It is generally reasonable for children to spend at least one or possibly two consecutive weeks with each parent, unless there are particular circumstances that prevent this from being possible or safeguarding concerns.

"If you are able to reach a suitable parenting plan with your former partner, there is absolutely no need for the court or lawyers to get involved. In the unfortunate scenario where you cannot agree matters with your former partner, it is advisable to seek legal advice from a family law specialist."

For more information, please visit: www.mayowynnebaxter.co.uk/


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