With summer holiday season approaching fast, separated or divorced parents need to be clear on the holiday arrangements involving their child/children well in advance to avoid any of the problems that can lead to applications to court.

It is widely but wrongly believed that written permission of the other parent is always required to take children “out of the jurisdiction.” In fact written permission is only required if there is a “child arrangements order” already in existence in relation to the child. If the child usually lives with you and you are named as such in the order it does not apply for trips of less than one month. In the majority of cases no orders are made so no written permissions are required.

It is always far better to inform each other before taking children out of the jurisdiction. Many countries also have their own legal requirements for written consent or a court order permitting the presence of a child on holiday.

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One of the commonest problems is when passports are withheld or used as hostages over other problems. If consent is unreasonably withheld a court application can be made.

The crucial question is what is in the child’s best interests? The courts are not impressed by point scoring and if the arrangements are sensible will often find that holidays are in a child’s best interests.

The golden rule of common sense always applies – sort a problem out long before you go so that you do not find yourself in the last minute queue either at the court!