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Child custody & maintenance - FAQs & Advice

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I don’t have custody of my children, do I need permission to take them abroad?

If you wish to take your child abroad but you do not have custody of the child, then it is imperative that you obtain the permission of the parent with custody, or someone with parental responsibility.

The mother of the child automatically has parental responsibility, but you are still required to seek permission of any other person who also has legal parental responsibility.

If you take a child abroad without the permission of the other parent or person(s) with parental responsibility, then this is child abduction. The only way you may take a child abroad legally without express permission is if you have a child arrangement order, in that situation you can take the child abroad for up to 28 days.

Getting permission

Written permission is suitable for proving that you have consent to take the child abroad, but it is important to keep it with you, as it is possible that you may be asked to produce the letter at a border. Other useful items include evidence of your relationship with your child (birth/adoption certificate), or a divorce or marriage certificate if you are a single parent with a different surname to your child.

If you haven’t got permission from the other parent or someone with parental responsibility, then you will need to get permission from a court. Details that the court require are:

  • Date of departure
  • When and how you are returning
  • Contact details of people with parental responsibility who are staying in the UK