Child custody arrangements can be complicated, which means you need to be careful doing things like taking your children on holiday or going travelling. Even seemingly innocent actions can have significant consequences if you’re found to be breaching a parenting order set in place by the courts.
All family lawyers will tell you that it’s even more important to understand your rights and obligations if you’re considering international travel with your children. In most cases, you will have to seek the other parent’s permission, so it’s best to start discussions early to ensure the outcome you want.
In the rest of this article, we’re going to look at two different scenarios to help you understand whether or not you can take your children away on holiday. As always, speak to our team if you would like more specific information about your exact situation.
Can I Take My Children on Holiday if I Don’t Have Custody?
If you don’t have custody of your children, you need to be careful about taking them on holiday. Although it may be possible to make arrangements with the other parent – especially if you remain on good terms – you shouldn’t count on anything.
It’s important to realise that there are significant penalties if you move or travel with your children without informing the other parent. They will be able to apply for a location or recovery order to have them returned. And, the chances are that they will be successful if they’ve previously been awarded custody.
In short, you may be able to take your children on holiday if you don’t have custody, but you need to plan and organise things ahead of time.
- Speak with the other parent and attempt to come to a friendly agreement.
- Try and organise the holiday for a time when you would be seeing the children anyway.
- Contact a family dispute resolution service if you can’t come to an agreement with the other parent.
In the worst case, you may be able to apply for a court order that allows you to take your children on holidays, even if you don’t have full custody.
Can I Take My Children on Holidays if I Do Have Full Custody?
If you have full custody of your children, you shouldn’t have any problems taking them on holidays. Once again, though, the other parent does need to be considered.
- Speak with them and inform them of your plans, including where you’re going.
- Make sure you think about visitation rights and any time your children usually spend with the other parent.
- If your children regularly visit them, see if you can make arrangements to make up for lost visits in the future.
At the same time, make sure that you understand that every child custody situation is different. Even if you have full custody, a parenting order can still specify terms and conditions that you have to follow.
Here, we’ve looked at two fairly specific child custody situations on opposite ends of the spectrum. Understand that most cases will sit somewhere between these ones, and every situation needs to be considered separately.
For example, parents who have been awarded joint custody and spend approximately equal amounts of time with their children could have trouble taking them on holidays – especially if the other parent is opposed to the idea.
If you’re not sure about the legalities of taking your children on holidays, regardless of your custody situation, you should speak to a qualified family law professional.