Rainscourt Family Law Solicitors

Taking holidays with children after divorce: what if your ex does not consent?

In central Milton Keynes, the flags are flying, telling us that we are hosting an event that is #toobigtomiss: the Rugby World Cup 2015. Undoubtedly rugby fans young and old will be flocking to the MK Dons 30,000 seater stadium this time next year to enjoy some international rugby.  International travel and holidays can become more complicated after separation or divorce.  If you take children abroad without the consent of the other parent, this may be considered to be an abduction of the child, so always take legal advice.   If parents are unable to agree on holiday plans, then the court will need to be asked to make a decision as to whether or not a child may travel.

What will the court look for when deciding what to do? Its primary concern will be the welfare of the children.  The judge will look at the steps the potential holidaymaker is willing to take, to guarantee the return of the children to this country.  This is less of an issue if the holiday destination is a signatory to the Hague Convention, under which it is easier to return abducted children.  In the recent case of JS (A Child)*, a father wanted to take his 5 year old son to Dubai during the February half term.  The mother did not agree, as she was worried that the father planned to stay there permanently with the child, despite being employed in the UK.  Both parents were UK citizens.  The High Court decided that the father could not take the child to Dubai, because the safeguards offered, whereby the father would lodge £5,000 with solicitors to be given to the mother if he did not return, did not outweigh the consequences for the child if he were retained in Dubai.  Safeguards, such as a payment of a financial bond, or making a promise with a religious leader, will need to be sufficient for a judge to consider that they offer a guarantee of the return of the child from the holiday.

Milton Keynes will host the Rugby World Cup in 2015.


*  [2014] EWHC B20 (Fam)


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