Q. I want to take my son on holiday abroad, do I need his Mother’s permission?
A. A father may not legally remove his child from the jurisdiction of England and Wales unless he has the permission of the child’s mother. In most cases the same is true of a mother wanting to take a child abroad but only if the father has Parental Responsibility. Not all fathers have Parental Responsibility, for example, if the parents were never married and the child’s birth was registered before the 1st December 2003, or if the father was not named on the Birth Certificate, then the father would not have Parental Responsibility unless it had been subsequently granted by a Court Order or formal Agreement. There is an exception to this requirement in that where a parent has a Residence Order made in their favour they may remove the child from England and Wales for up to four weeks without the other parent’s permission. I would advise that you speak with your son’s mother and offer to provide her with details of where you wish to take your son, where you will be staying, and offer to provide copies of your travel documents when you have them. If she still refuses to give you permission then I would recommend you speak with a Solicitor specialising in Family Law who could write to her and could advise you about making an application to the Court if necessary. However under the new Family Court rules you would need to have first attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) at a Mediation Service before you could make an application to the Court. Therefore the sooner you speak with your son’s mother the better.
*Previously printed in the Stamford Mercury and Peterborough Telegraph