If you’re planning a trip abroad, you may not have given much thought to flying with your child who has a different surname to you, but it’s important to consider these tips before travelling to avoid any pitfalls.

Child Arrangement Order

If you are separated or divorced from the child’s other parent, do you have a Child Arrangement Order in place? If you have an Order which determines that the child lives with you, you can take your child abroad for up to one month without the other parent’s consent.

Letter of consent

Ordinarily, you are not legally required to provide a letter of consent from the other parent if you wish to take your child abroad. But if you are separated or divorced, a letter of consent from the other parent may prove useful.

Parental responsibility

If you do not have a Child Arrangement Order and you wish to take your child abroad for a holiday, you must obtain the written permission from anybody who has Parental Responsibility for the child. This means the mother, the father (provided the parents were married at the time of the child’s birth or the father is named on the Birth Certificate after December 2003). Grandparents may also hold Parental Responsibility through a mutually signed Agreement.

If consent is not forthcoming, you could be charged with Child Abduction if you take a child outside the UK without permission. To avoid this scenario you would be advised to make an application to a Specific Issue Order.

Plan ahead

It is wise to discuss holidays with your former partner well in advance of booking a trip abroad as the court would not generally deal with specific issue applications on an urgent basis for the purpose of a holiday.

Check with the Airline

Notify the airline of your position and ask for any advice they can give you about what documentation to carry with you or the specific entry requirements of the country you are travelling to.

Rules of a foreign country

Different Countries have different rules about travelling with children. Check with the relevant Embassy in the UK to check the entry requirements for the country you’re planning to visit. Some countries may require additional documentation.


Take documents with you that prove you have a relationship with the child. For example, the child’s Birth Certificate, Adoption Certificate and marriage or divorce documents.

If you are unsure, it’s best to seek advice. King Street Solicitors offer free half hour appointments and tailored appointments to suit your specific requirements. Get in touch with us and speak with a member of our Family Law Team 01924 332395.