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Permission to take children abroad when you don't know where exh is

(39 Posts)
moldingsunbeams Tue 18-Mar-14 10:10:42

So if no court or residency order you need to get permission from anyone with PR to take child on holiday. What are you meant to do if they have cut contact?

babybarrister Tue 18-Mar-14 14:31:59

Find them! There are orders court can make to track them down if in UK under family law act 1986. If they are overseas then more difficult but nit necessarily impossible ....

Trifle Tue 18-Mar-14 19:33:07

Why would you bother. There are plenty of people who take their kids on holiday without the partner with no problems. I've taken the ds's numerous times and not been stopped or questioned. Why would I be, not all families come with 2 adults.

moldingsunbeams Tue 18-Mar-14 21:16:39

Trifle I have been stopped previously, probably as dds surname differs from mine despite having dds birth certand proof she lived with me.

Been told I have to carry a permission letter detailing alltravel dates and his permission.

prh47bridge Tue 18-Mar-14 21:52:19

Why would I be

Because taking a child out of the country without the consent of everyone with PR is a criminal offence. Some countries will refuse entry unless you can provide evidence that you have appropriate authority.

STIDW Tue 18-Mar-14 21:54:33

Taking children abroad without permission is the criminal offence of child abduction. See;

https://www.gov.uk/permission-take-child-abroad

Increasingly people are being stopped when they travel alone with children either as they leave the UK or when they enter other countries. Some countries (e.g. Canada and Mexico) may not admit children without written consent to travel from all those with Parental Responsibility or permission from the courts. So it's worth the bother to save the hassle of being held up in UK and potentially missing flights etc or being turned away by immigration in other countries.

Nappaholic Tue 18-Mar-14 22:49:56

I'll put the question forward, just to be difficult....

How would immigration control know whether or not the father did, or didn't have Parental Responsibility for the child concerned, and therefore whether the travelling parent did or didn't require the other parent's consent?

DespicableWee Tue 18-Mar-14 22:55:01

How do border control know who does or doesn't have PR for children though? I'm not advocating just chancing it and not attempting to seek permission from someone who should be giving it, I'm just curious.

My DC have their father's surname which isn't the same as mine. He didn't have PR for them until they were into their teens, but how would any border control official know that? I couldn't prove that no one else had PR, because there is no official form that states you have sole PR, short of a residency order, which I didn't have as there was no point.

I also wonder what might happen if the other parent had died? How upsetting would it be for all parties concerned if a parent and their child either had to carry a copy of the other parents death certificate on holiday with them, or got stopped, questioned and potentially missed their holiday without it?

Is there a database of who has PR for all children that border control can check?

Nappaholic Tue 18-Mar-14 22:59:02

Also, (thought so, but had to look it up) section 1(5) creates a defence to the offence created by section 1 of the Child Abduction Act 1984:-

(5) A person does not commit an offence under this section by doing anything without the consent of another person whose consent is required under the foregoing provisions if—
(a) he does it in the belief that the other person—
(i) has consented; or
(ii) would consent if he was aware of all the relevant circumstances; or
(b) he has taken all reasonable steps to communicate with the other person but has been unable to communicate with him; or
(c) the other person has unreasonably refused to consent,

Meglet Tue 18-Mar-14 23:06:53

So those of us with abusive absent ex-partners (5yrs now) are meant to find them and ask if we can take the DC's on holiday hmm. XP wouldn't let us go out of spite despite not knowing his dc's, we'd be at risk again.

Another example of how the law allows abusive men to still have power over their ex-families angry. The law needs to be changed to take power back from long absent NRP's, they aren't parents anymore and shouldn't be consulted about anything.

STIDW Tue 18-Mar-14 23:27:15

Nappaholic, the problem is a court has to hear a case to determine whether or not consent has unreasonably been refused and if you haven't been able to contact the other parent you need to produce evidence you have tried all reasonable attempts to trace and contact the person. If someone fails to take those precautions they could find their holiday being ruined by last minute court hearings or visits from the authorities abroad when they are on holiday.

Meglet, I'm sorry you have an abusive ex partner but the law is to protect children and prevent international child abduction by either parent. There is no reason why you can't apply for permission from the courts to take children abroad and ask the courts not to disclose your whereabouts.

Meglet Tue 18-Mar-14 23:35:35

STIDW So I would just have to apply to a court and say (in a nutshell) "we're going to Florida, we will be back in 2 weeks" and for them to record it confused? How does it work? I don't care what it costs I just want us to be safe.

Nappaholic Tue 18-Mar-14 23:36:29

Thing is, STIDW, there would have to be a case brought under the Child Abduction Act in order to present any defence...and who would bring it if the father was "absent"?

Meglet Tue 18-Mar-14 23:46:35

The thing is that the law isn't protecting children who live in the UK when it expects abusive parents to be consulted about their children going on holiday. That in itself puts those children at risk. XP knows where we live and has been unhinged enough to threaten to kill his own children in the past, the law should also protect us.

STIDW Tue 18-Mar-14 23:50:10

Yes of course a case would have to be brought in order to present a defense but even if there no case it doesn't resolve the problems of being stopped leaving the country as the OP was, or entering another country. Someone last year missed their flight last year because the "absent" parent applied for a Prohibited Steps Order and the hearing was an hour or so before the flight was due to leave. Permission was granted but it was too late.

meglet, in the absence of a solicitor you would need to apply to court for a Specific Issue Order using Form C100 which can be downloaded from the Ministry of Justice website. Perhaps you could persuade the court to grant permission for you to take the children abroad every year for a couple of weeks so you don't need to go back.

Meglet Tue 18-Mar-14 23:50:24

nappa good point (although I'm sure the law has a way around it hmm). XP wouldn't know his children if he bumped into them in the street. He wouldn't know we were going on holiday.

Meglet Tue 18-Mar-14 23:57:06

STIDW thank you, that sounds promising. It would be nice to know we could go to France / Florida when they're older. I'm going to take a look at those forms and cross my fingers.

prh47bridge Wed 19-Mar-14 00:02:28

How do border control know who does or doesn't have PR for children though

Some countries are taking the approach that it is up to you to prove you have appropriate authority. So if you are the only person with PR it is up to you to prove that. If you can't you may be refused entry.

Perhaps you could persuade the court to grant permission for you to take the children abroad every year for a couple of weeks so you don't need to go back

The other alternative is to get a residence order in your favour. You are then allowed to take the children out of the country for up to one month at a time without needing anyone's consent.

moldingsunbeams Wed 19-Mar-14 08:02:06

In regards to residence order several of my friends havent been hranted residence orders because no one is disputing residence sad

We were stopped in Greece, had our passports taken away and everything while they investigated us both in and out.

cestlavielife Wed 19-Mar-14 11:06:25

will the new child arrangements orders cover this ?
if tehre is a no order principle then clearly there is a gap...as in cases mentioned above where there is no contact or ex is abusive etc as it happens i have a residence order so ok to take children out of country wihtout permission for a holiday. but i could foresee someone in greece etc not understanding the order etc .
i have been asked when coming back into uk from france as to who the kids are (they ahve diff surname on uk passports - on their spanish passports they have ex's name and mine which helps) etc. but just been waved on after saying yes they are mine etc. l

DespicableWee Wed 19-Mar-14 11:57:28

"Some countries are taking the approach that it is up to you to prove you have appropriate authority. So if you are the only person with PR it is up to you to prove that. If you can't you may be refused entry."

I can see their point, and I wholeheartedly agree with the reason this is being asked for. The potential heartbreak and damage caused by a child being abducted to another country and the difficulty in having them returned far outweighs the annoyance of getting together some proof of permission or lack of need for it before a family jolly. But, what proof can there be if a parent has sole PR because the father is unknown, or the NRP disappeared before registering the birth, or the children were born before 2003?

A residency order wouldn't be granted because no one is around to object to it. An SIO wouldn't be appropriate if the NRP is not in contact so not actually objecting, just, utterly absent surely? Is there something else that could be used?

I realise that absent parents without PR is an issue which is going to time out quite soon anyway, with the pre-2003 babies coming of age, but that still leaves a fair few families in this pickle until then.

Sorry for the hijack, moldingsunbeams

whatsnext2 Wed 19-Mar-14 12:15:11

Have booked a 50th birthday bucket list holiday to Brazil as single parent. However just discovered Brazil needs to have notarised parental consent for travel. As Ex is unwilling to do any paperwork whatsoever not sure how to manage this. Any advice?

mummytime Wed 19-Mar-14 12:26:09

This is what the Government website says on the matter. If you can't contact the ex or he won't sign you can get a court order. you will not be stopped if you can clearly demonstrate that it is a temporary visit, like a holiday.

Then you will have a court document to demonstrate you have permission.

CashmereHoodlum Wed 19-Mar-14 12:32:54

How much is a court order likely to cost, does anyone know?

Nappaholic Wed 19-Mar-14 16:15:54

The court application fee for a specific issue order is £175 at present. You can apply for a waiver of fees if you are poor enough...but prob wouldn't then be able to afford a holiday abroad? Legal advice to assist with the application maybe £100-£200. Representation prob £150-£200 an hour for maybe three hours, plus VAT?

Your biggest hurdle will be trying to get service on the "absent" parent, if that's the problem, but it's not insurmountable, as long as you have tried to find him, or there are reasons why you don't want to ask him.

The court is still looking for the best interests of the child in all this, so barring abduction type cases, the court is not likely to refuse a reasonable request! And I can't think of any reason why permission couldn't be given for future trips at the same time.

Not my area of expertise, but if the destination is within the EU, aren't we all free to move between states without a passport anyway?

Nappaholic Wed 19-Mar-14 16:21:49

Sorry. Correction to my last post...The court fee for a specific issue order is 215 quid, not 175...they went up (again) last July!

titchy Wed 19-Mar-14 16:32:38

UK isn't in Schengen area so no we are not free to move around without passports.

Nappaholic Wed 19-Mar-14 16:48:50

Little bit UK centric there, titchy! Sorry.

titchy Wed 19-Mar-14 17:57:30

Errr well we're in the UK - so yes of course my post was Uk-centric....

JaneinReading Wed 19-Mar-14 17:58:15

Best to tae a permission with you although I never had and when married and after divorce have never once been stopped all over the planet from Central America to ski resorts, Europe and the Caribbean. Perhaps I've just been lucky. All those were holidays. (And we all have the same surname). Fathers and mothers take children on holiday without the other parent all the time. Many go back to the home country every summer whilst the father stays in the UK for all but a week or two even in happily married couples or better off mothers are jetting off on breaks to warmer climes without the other parent 9 Kate Middleton did it with her parents and the baby recently.

BUT it sounds like the law requires some kind of consent. There may be of course be no other parent. I know a sperm donor mother. A friend of mine was widowed with 2 children. He takes them all over - Vietnam, Europe, USA (although I suppose perhaps he always carries his wife's death certificate with him - I've never asked).

I certainly have never bothered and never will.

This is the 4th year running that I have been to court to get permission for a holiday. Each time the abusive xh uses it as an opportunity to attempt to manipulate, and extend contact. The court won't give ongoing permission, and the bastard is still on legal aid taking the piss out of the legal system. Whoever said it's a way for abusers to continue abusing is totally right.

JaneinReading Wed 19-Mar-14 18:36:35

I think legal aid for that kind of thing stops this year so you might it gets easier as he won't have lawyers.

Nappaholic Wed 19-Mar-14 19:21:38

Titchy - I meant I was being UK centric...but not all Mumsnetters are in the UK - hence my apology. I don't understand your comment otherwise - where is Schengen?

NomDeClavier Wed 19-Mar-14 19:27:12

Sometimes it's simple- there's no father on the birth cert or there a death cert. Border Officials see it all the time. Yes it's a pain to prove and it can't be fun dragging the paperwork to prove your partner is dead round with you but it's a relatively small price to pay when you consider the heartbreak international child abduction causes.

It really is best at the pointing of separation to get an order in place but it's not something people thing of, understandably. It's worth looking into when it cones up though and I certainly wouldn't advise anyone to hope for the best.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Wed 19-Mar-14 19:34:15

The Schengen Agreement is the legislation that permits most EU citizens to travel freely within the EU. UK took an opt-out on that one, we are in a Common Travel Agreement with Ireland, which allows us to travel there without passports (and vis versa).

It does. His legal aid request went in at the end of march last year, and he's dragged it all out. Hope it's finished soon, but doesn't solve the problem of holidays. Bastard.

Nappaholic Wed 19-Mar-14 22:53:55

Thanks OldLady. That's very helpful.

CashmereHoodlum Thu 20-Mar-14 11:51:53

Thank you Nappaholic.

SavoyCabbage Thu 20-Mar-14 11:58:16

I've been stopped before and I do have the same name as my dc and I am married and living with dh, who is their father. So it's not that they know, it's that they check.

After my friend was separated from her dc at the airport when her dd answered 'america' when asked where she lived (too much tv) I drill my dc on what to say if asked.

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