Holiday arrangements for separated parents

Josie Hayes web

By Josephine Hayes

With the summer holidays looming many separated parents are concerned about what holiday arrangements they are able to make. Dealing with holiday arrangements can be complicated and can cause stress and tension between parents. Some of the most frequently asked questions are:

1. Can I take the children on holiday without their other parent’s consent?
Anyone who has a Child Arrangements Order (CAO) in their favour can take the children out of the country for up to one month without the permission of the other parent.

If you do not have  a CAO then everyone with parental responsibility for the child must consent to the holiday.

2. Can I go away for six weeks?
Even if you have a CAO you can only remove the children from the country for up to a month. If the trip is for more than one month then the consent of everyone with parental responsibility should be obtained.

3. My child is 17, do I still need permission?
Yes. A CAO confirming whom a child lives with does not end until they turn 18 so you would still require consent.

4. What can I do if the other parent refuses to consent?
The first step is to try to reach an agreement direct, offer to make up any missed contact time and try to reach a practical solution. If an agreement cannot be reached then mediation may be an appropriate way of reaching a resolution. If mediation is unsuccessful then solicitors can assist and an application can be made to the court for a specific issues order.

5. My ex wants to take the children to an inappropriate place, what can I do?
If you have a genuine and reasonable objection to the venue of a proposed holiday/trip then you can apply to the court for a Prohibited Steps Order. The court will consider whether the trip is in the best interests of the child and can refuse to allow the trip if it is not appropriate.

If you have any questions or concerns about holidays or contact it is important to seek early legal advice. Barker Gotelee can offer a free and confidential initial consultation for anyone who needs help and advice.

Josephine Hayes is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.

Suffolk Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email