International Travel and Relocation

Removing your children from the UK without permission of the other parent will be an abduction and is a criminal offence.

If you have a child arrangements order that specifies the child lives with you, you may remove the child for up to a month without requiring the express permission of the other parent.

Generally speaking, any reasonable request for a holiday to be taken at a particular time should be agreeable to the other parent. If not , the resulting clash will need to be resolved and an agreement reached. Many parents will try to work on a schedule for the year, ahead of time, so that they can book holidays with their work commitments in mind and in order to make the arrangements that are necessary. It will be appropriate to give the other parent  details of the intended flights and the intended destination and some way of getting in contact should the need arise. These should be provided generally no less than a week before a holiday is taken.

These sorts of provisional rules could form part of a parenting plan.

Sometimes for personal reasons, one parent might want to relocate to another country or another part of the country with the child.

These are called “leave to remove” applications. International leave to remove applications are now dealt with on the same basis as “internal” leave to remove applications (moving to another part of England or Wales).

The court looks at the welfare of the child as the paramount consideration. The plan for relocation needs to consider all aspects of the child’s upbringing including where they will live, where they will go to school, how they will be supported by the parent with whom they will live and importantly how a connection can properly be maintained with the left behind parent. The court will look at the impact on the parent who is applying to move of a refusal being made but also the impact on who is resisting a move.

There are no hard and fast rules, so it makes sense to take advice at an early stage if you are planning to relocate to another country or to relocate somewhere where it’s not possible to keep the children at the same school.