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Arranging to Take Your Child on Holiday

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 4 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Holiday Child Ex Planning Negotiate

Taking your child away on holiday gives you a great opportunity to spend some quality time together and build some lasting memories. As eager as you may be to do this, you are going to have to co-ordinate with your ex to make the process run smoothly and keep her happy. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to work out any glitches and hopefully you will soon be off on a fun packed holiday.

Plan in Advance

Deciding to take your children away at the last minute is not going to go down well with your ex and just leaves you open for things to go wrong and her to hold them against you. Think about when their school holidays are and leave enough time to finalise the details so everyone is happy.

Check Commitments

Has your child got a football match or ballet show planned? Are they going to miss their best friend’s birthday? Is your ex planning to take them to see their Grandma? You need to co-ordinate all your diaries so that you can find a time that best suits you all.

Ask Your Ex

In an ideal world you would be able to take your children wherever you wanted without asking permission from anyone. However, in reality it is best to keep relations smooth so that you do not work against yourself. By asking your ex for permission you are showing her respect and hopefully she will reciprocate by agreeing. (Read our article on the Rules Of Negotiating With Your Ex on this site.)

Negotiate Time

So you want to take them away for 3 weeks to India and your ex would prefer 3 days in Cornwall. Sit down with her and try to negotiate a compromise by calmly pointing out the pros of your plan. Make sure that you acknowledge and accept any concerns that she may have and try to find some middle ground.

Ask Your Children

While your ideal holiday might be cycling through France you need to think about what your children would enjoy. Ask them where they would like to visit or what their favourite activities are. Then you can do some research and plan the trip together so that they can get excited about it.

Lessen the Distance

Although your children have probably spent time away from their mum when staying with you before, they may not have left her for an extended amount of time. Think about this in advance, take a photo, their favourite home comfort and make it easy for them to contact her if they want to.

When you are planning a holiday with your children you need to think about their needs but also consider the opinions and concerns of your ex. You want her to be supportive of your plans so tread carefully, ask her permission and try to negotiate a plan that everybody is happy with. It can be a great time to share with your children and if this one goes well, then hopefully you can plan many more over the years.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Mumof4- Your Question:
Hi, after advice, my son has started seeing his father (the child born march 2015) only since August 2017, I have agreed for him to take our son to Disneyland Paris with his wife and other children but he is now saying he needs to be on the birth certificate, even after adding my son to his holiday and paying for his passport, what I need to know is does he need to be on the certificate as the child has different surname but so does two of the other children they will be taking, thanks

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here , which will tell you all you need to know.
SeparatedDads - 6-Nov-17 @ 1:50 PM
Hi, after advice, my son has started seeing his father (the child born march 2015)only since August 2017, I have agreed for him to take our son to Disneyland Paris with his wife and other children but he is now saying he needs to be on the birth certificate, even after adding my son to his holiday and paying for his passport, what I need to know is does he need to be on the certificate as the child has different surname but so does two of the other children they will be taking, thanks
Mumof4 - 4-Nov-17 @ 8:36 PM
Taz - Your Question:
I take our kids on holiday every yr and never once ask my ex to help pay for it or clothes for the trip. My ex is taking them on their first holiday in 6yrs and now demanding I go to the expense of buying all their holiday clothes for the trip he is taking them on.He pays me £65 a wk when it suits him.fir 3 kids.Am I expected to go to the expense to buy these clothes. Thank you

Our Response:
You are not under any obligation to pay for clothing towards the holiday. If your ex is taking them on holiday, unless you agree otherwise, it is up to him to provide/buy clothing for them. The money he pays you as child maintenance is for their general 'day-to-day' needs.
SeparatedDads - 29-Aug-17 @ 12:52 PM
I take our kids on holiday every yr and never once ask my ex to help pay for it or clothes for the trip. My ex is taking them on their first holiday in 6yrs and now demanding I go to the expense of buying all their holiday clothes for the trip he is taking them on... He pays me £65 a wk when it suits him ..fir 3 kids.. Am I expected to go to the expense to buy these clothes. Thank you
Taz - 27-Aug-17 @ 4:43 PM
Razzle - Your Question:
I have followed all of your negotiation advice regards holiday arrangements. I have planned a 10 day trip with my sons who will be 9 and 11 to Asia, visiting Hong Kong and Shanghai and provided a full itinerary. I am also flying to the uk to pick my sons up and will fly home on their return also. My ex is saying she will not allow the boys to go to China, yet gives no reasons. It has been 2 years since my last holiday with my sons which was to cancun in Mexico and I had the same issues then, it was a nightmare yet eventually the boys were allowed to come. What can I do ? Can my ex stop them from coming on holiday and visiting China ? Please help.

Our Response:
You would have to apply through the courts for a Specific Issue Order, please see link here. However, you would also need ample time for the order to be heard in court, as these things can take time. Therefore, you may wish to seek legal advice.
SeparatedDads - 13-Jun-17 @ 12:36 PM
I have followed all of your negotiation advice regards holiday arrangements. I have planned a 10 day trip with my sons who will be 9 and 11 to Asia, visiting Hong Kong and Shanghai and provided a full itinerary.I am also flying to the uk to pick my sons up and will fly home on their return also. My ex is saying she will not allow the boys to go to China, yet gives no reasons. It has been 2 years since my last holiday with my sons which was to cancun in Mexico and I had the same issues then, it was a nightmare yet eventually the boys were allowed to come. What can I do ? Can my ex stop them from coming on holiday and visiting China ? Please help.
Razzle - 13-Jun-17 @ 1:40 AM
345 - Your Question:
We have planned a trip to Cornwall last minute my ex wife has said my daughter can't go we have been split 7 years and my daughter has lived with with 50/50 since. We go in four days what can I do she's telling me I can't take her

Our Response:
I'm afraid there is little you can do legally in this short space of time. If there is a court order in place allowing you access and holidays, you may be able to ask a solicitor to write a letter to remind your ex about the terms of the court order and the repercussions if she attempts to breach it. If you have parental responsibility, while you do not need permission from your ex to take your child on holiday and the police cannot intervene, it is never a good idea to do so without agreement, as it can quite easily backfire. Hopefully, the matter will resolve itself by the time you go and your ex will reconsider - but if it doesn't you may have to leave your daughter behind.
SeparatedDads - 23-May-17 @ 2:46 PM
We have planned a trip to Cornwall last minute my ex wife has said my daughter can't go we have been split 7 years and my daughter has lived with with 50/50 since. We go in four days what can I do she's telling me I can't take her
345 - 23-May-17 @ 7:44 AM
D666 - Your Question:
EveningAdvise please I've been divorced for 4 years separated 5 years and this year I'm hoping to take my 3 children (8,13,15) abroad for the first time in 5 years I've offered to pay for new passports and the 13 year old actually has a trip with his school to France in the spring. She's aware that my plans are to go to Italy for a week in the summer holidays I have joint parental responsibility Can she stop me in any way just to be nasty ? ( she has in the past been bitter )

Our Response:
I think the best course of action is to discuss the matter between you to find out whether your ex will object to your suggestion. If she does, then yes, she can try and stop you. However, if she does, you would have the option to take the matter to court under a Specific Issue Order, here. As with any decision regarding parental responsibility, it is always best to mutually agree. If you don't agree, and have PR, you won't face prosecution if you take your children out of the country for up to 28 days. But, it could very much backfire on the return. So, discuss first, and if she doesn't agree, suggest mediation, please see link here. Court is considered the last resort and you would have to leave enough time prior to any holiday for your case to be heard.
SeparatedDads - 6-Mar-17 @ 2:08 PM
Evening Advise please I've been divorced for 4 years separated 5 years and this year I'm hoping to take my 3 children (8,13,15) abroad for the first time in 5 years I've offered to pay for new passports and the 13 year old actually has a trip with his school to France in the spring . She's aware that my plans are to go to Italy for a week in the summer holidays I have joint parental responsibility Can she stop me in any way just to be nasty ?( she has in the past been bitter )
D666 - 5-Mar-17 @ 7:05 PM
My son seperated from his wife of six years four years ago he was the one that eneded the relationship as he felt it would be cruel to carry on as he did not love her as he should there marriage resulted in two beautiful children girl and a boy 9 and 6. He now lives with his partner and they have gone on to have a son he is 18 months. My son tries very hard to be a great dad to his children he pays his x for his children without fail also they have there own bedroom he buys them clothes toys shoes ect and has them every friday and saturday and every other week a sunday also. Along side that i have them thursday night and take them to school friday morning and collect friday evening and my son then collects them from me after work the children adore there little brother and they love being together. But my x daughter in law keepschanging things to suit herself we are very flexible with her i have them at the drop of a hat whenever she asks and where possible so does my son but its my grandsons birthday and she has just messaged him saying your not having him on friday or saturday when my son messaged her and said you can not do that its my day withthem she says tuff have him on sunday but he has school monday so he will only get to see him for a few hours can she keep doing this we are all so accomadating to her but she still sends my son txt all the time starting arguments he will get a txt everyweek after he drops them home with some snotty comment it is never ending what can we do
Loraine hook - 10-Feb-17 @ 12:33 PM
Hi I have a residency order for my grandson but I was wondering if anybody could let me know if my mother would be able to take my grandson on holiday
Angiemic - 6-Feb-17 @ 2:10 PM
Helz - Your Question:
Hi I need some advice, we have a family holiday booked abroad in3 weeks my son partner granddaughter and my daughter grandson and 2 family friends yesterday my sons partner said she is not going and our granddaughter can't go. She had agreed to everything even to me paying for the passport for my granddaughter and her and my son have fallen out. Does my son have any rights to be able to take his little girl on holiday still, and how to we get this sorted in 3 weeks

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that an application for a Specific Issue Order would be heard in time for your holiday. I can only suggest you seek legal advice regarding this to explore whether you have any options.
SeparatedDads - 30-Aug-16 @ 2:58 PM
Hi I need some advice, we have a family holiday booked abroad in3 weeks my son partner granddaughter and my daughter grandson and 2 family friends yesterday my sons partner said she is not going and our granddaughter can't go.She had agreed to everything even to me paying for the passport for my granddaughter and her and my son have fallen out.Does my son have any rights to be able to take his little girl on holiday still, and how to we get this sorted in 3 weeks
Helz - 30-Aug-16 @ 6:33 AM
Lefthangingdad - Your Question:
Would just like some advice. After a lengthy court battle, I now have a child arrangement order in place for my child of 21 months. This allows me 2 days and an overnight stay every weekend. I believe this is set until school age unless I am mistaken. I was just wondering if I am entitled to holidays since at this age they don't have the structure of school term times. My ex doesn't think I should be allowed extra overnights which would allow me to take my child away. Do I have to wait until my child starts school?? Thanks

Our Response:
If the court order does not specify holidays and your ex does not wish you to take your child on holiday, then you are not entitled to take your child away as you would have to stick to the terms of the order. I hope this answers your question.
SeparatedDads - 14-Jun-16 @ 12:48 PM
Would just like some advice. After a lengthy court battle, I now have a child arrangement order in place for my child of 21 months. This allows me 2 days and an overnight stay every weekend. I believe this is set until school age unless I am mistaken. I was just wondering if I am entitled to holidays since at this age they don't have the structure of school term times. My ex doesn't think I should be allowed extra overnights which would allow me to take my child away. Do I have to wait until my child starts school?? Thanks
Lefthangingdad - 13-Jun-16 @ 5:18 PM
Ed - Your Question:
Hi. My ex wife wont allow me to go on holidays abroad with my son. We have a court order in place where I have 5 weeks a year but she said not abroad. She says she'll cancel the my sons passport so he wont be able to fly. She was never given any reasons for this. What are my options? Go back to court?She's also not allowing me more access such as phone calls etc. Any advice welcome.

Our Response:
You would need to take the matter back to court and apply for a Specific Issue Order, please see link here. If the court order specifically says you are allowed holidays and phone calls then your ex is in breach, please see link: Breach of Contact or Residence Order: What to Do, here which may also be of help.
SeparatedDads - 15-Apr-16 @ 10:03 AM
Hi.. My ex wife wont allow me to go on holidays abroad with my son. We have a court order in place where I have 5 weeks a year but she said not abroad. She says she'll cancel the my sons passport so he wont be able to fly. She was never given any reasons for this. What are my options? Go back to court? She's also not allowing me more access such as phone calls etc.. Any advice welcome.
Ed - 14-Apr-16 @ 10:54 AM
HI im taking my kids on holiday, and i asked my ex in january for this as we divorced 4 months ago. she gave me permission she texted me 'you got my permission to take kids to india' now i booked everything ticket done, travel injection done, nowshe showing her true colour as she cheated on me two years ago. my kids looking forward to this and she saying you cant take them. she making things hard for me only two and half weeks left to go, dont know what shall i do to get passport for visa. please help me.
BHUPINDER - 5-Mar-16 @ 12:43 PM
JohnR - Your Question:
My partner has custody of our 8 year old daughter and I have her every other weekend and half of the school holidays. I want to take my daughter to France but my ex won't let me it would be during my part of school holidays, I can't afford to go back to court, can I get the court to consider this cheaply? Is their a paper I can complete? My ex won't discuss reasonably and has never been out of the country herself, I want to give my daughter the same experiences as my other children who live with me and their mother.

Our Response:
You can self-litigate which will save on employing a solicitor. Please see link: How to Represent Yourself here. You would need to apply for a Specific Issue Order, link here. You would have to apply in good time to allow it to be heard before your holiday. Mediation is also an option you may wish to consider and one the courts will have expected you to have suggested to your ex before you put in an application. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 2-Mar-16 @ 10:21 AM
My partner has custody of our 8 year old daughter and I have her every other weekend and half of the school holidays.I want to take my daughter to France but my ex won't let me it would be during my part of school holidays, I can't afford to go back to court, can I get the court to consider this cheaply?Is their a paper I can complete?My ex won't discuss reasonably and has never been out of the country herself, I want to give my daughter the same experiences as my other children who live with me and their mother.
JohnR - 1-Mar-16 @ 8:39 AM
Mol - Your Question:
Hiya me & my partner are taking his 17 (18 in december) away on holiday in 3 weeks time with us, his ex wife who was happy at first has decided to stop this saying she will have him for abduction, his daughter is more than happy to come with us and is stuck in the middle of this dispute, what are our rights please?

Our Response:
Please see article Can My Ex Stop Me Taking My Son on Holiday? Link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 27-Aug-15 @ 10:52 AM
Hiya me & my partner are taking his 17 (18 in december) away on holiday in 3 weeks time with us, his ex wife who was happy at first has decided to stop this saying she will have him for abduction, his daughter is more than happy to come with us and is stuck in the middle of this dispute, what are our rights please?
Mol - 26-Aug-15 @ 11:40 AM
Stuckinarutdad - Your Question:
Hi there, I'm looking for some advice please, I separated from my wife 6 years ago, we have 3 children together, ranging from 6yrs to 11 yrs.I now have another child with my partner of 4 years and would like to take all of them on holiday however year after year I have the same problem where my ex won't allow me to take them away even though the children want to come with me.I don't want to take them abroad and I allow her to take the away, so my question is, where do I stand if I just take them away?She does not speak to me, just gives me abuse through text or the children. I have approached her family to help however they won't. I have tried mediation but she didn't turn up.I can't afford to take her to court at the moment to get official visiting rights and she knows I would never cause a scene in front of the kids. I just want to spend some time with my children, please help, thanks

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. You would have to apply through the courts for a Specific Issue Order. A Specific Issue Orders, much like the name suggests, are orders sought from the family court to determine a particular matter in connection with the exercise of Parental Responsibility. These orders can cover a wide range of issues that you and your ex-partner cannot agree on, please see link here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 6-Aug-15 @ 11:37 AM
Hi there, I'm looking for some advice please, i separated from my wife 6 years ago, we have 3 children together, ranging from 6yrs to 11 yrs. I now have another child with my partner of 4 years and would like to take all of them on holiday however year after year I have the same problem where my ex won't allow me to take them away even though the children want to come with me. I don't want to take them abroad and I allow her to take the away, so my question is, where do I stand if I just take them away? She does not speak to me, just gives me abuse through text or the children. I have approached her family to help however they won't. I have tried mediation but she didn't turn up. I can't afford to take her to court at the moment to get official visiting rights and she knows I would never cause a scene in front of the kids. I just want to spend some time with my children, please help, thanks
Stuckinarutdad - 5-Aug-15 @ 10:20 AM
@Al - I'm just wondering what you think could go wrong if you have made an agreement? The fact that your ex is taking your daughter to the airport and putting her on the plane to come to you, means in iteslf that you have consent. You don't say how you are arranging it, but if it is exectuted through emails and texts, then you will have the evidence you need, by the factor of your arrangements. Or are you worried that your ex may renege on the agreement? If so, you then you would have needed to arrange a Specific Issue Order through the courts. However, it is a bit late in the day to do this, if the holiday is imminent. I'm sure all will be OK and that you can relax, and enjoy your break with your daughter.
SeparatedDads - 8-May-15 @ 11:27 AM
Hi there, I was born in Scotland to Irish parents so have dual nationality. I was married in Scotland and moved to Ireland during divorce 2 years ago. Anyway, things are ok between my ex and me with my daughter who is 12 this year. After many attempts, my ex has now said my daughter can come to Ireland for a weeks holiday, so I have agreement, no problem. My question is this, although I have verbal consent to the holiday, do I need it in writting to travel? I am going over to collect her and her mum will be at the airport to see her off so no bother there, but as I say I am just frightened something would go wrong and I don't have a lot of money to go asking lawyers for paperwork unless it is necessary to do so. Hoping someone can help me with this, I have 2 months to get this fixed, thanks in advance - Alan
Al - 7-May-15 @ 3:05 PM
PROHIBITIVE STEPS ORDER. I am taking my child, who is 3, away to Colombia this summer to visit her extended family but her mother is now 'threatening' a prohibitive steps order. As her father, I have a full residence order and she has been in my care for the best part of 2 years.Mother has parental responsibility, after all she is her mother. Upon previous court proceedings, her mother did not wish to have any residency due to "personal reasons" and CAFCASS saw this "effective absence" as an advantage to my daughters life.She has had my daughter one night a week (when convenient to mothers ever-changing schedule) for the past half a year.Since the announcement of the holiday, mother has tried to up the anti by requesting more days of access and even involving a contact centre.Obviously, I welcomed this as any signs of preventing access could be seen as immoral.True to her nature, she has not been able to fulfil these requests entirely, changing days when other plans arise etc., not to mention not being able to find alternative arrangements when she is meant to be in care (i.e. grandparents were also unable to accomodate provisions), and therefore my daughter was left with me until she wanted access.I sent her a courtesy letter highlighting the dates of the holiday, 26 days to ensure this is kept within the 28 day limit stated on the residence order; presented return tickets and emergency contact details whilst we are away.Mother is now 'threatening' to get a PSO using the idea that Colombia is 'too dangerous' as her back-up.Whilst I know I am within my right to take my daughter away, and given that its an opportunity to meet her extended family, has anyone got any information on what might be the outcome if she 'does' go to court?I am from Colombia myself and I know this is a positive opportunity for my daughter to meet her family and see where my heritage comes from.I forgot to mention I am travelling with a UK citizen who is a teacher, which further backs up my case that I WILL be returning.I can't help but feel like this is a personal vendetta.I have never received any form of child maintenance from her mother, nor claimed I couldn't look after my daughter when she cancelled her access within 24 hours of when the arrangement was meant to take place.Ive been to a solicitor and they said it would be irrelevant for me to go to court first as I have nothing to argue. Any advice would be much appreciated. JJ
JJ - 28-Apr-15 @ 8:53 PM
Hi folks looking for advice. I'm wanting to take my 3 year old daughter on holiday for a week but probably less. My ex is demanding that I contact her each night to let her know how she is. I have refused this as I feel that as her dad I don't have to contact my ex unless there is a real reason too. I could understand if there was fears over my abilty to look after my daughter but that isnt the case at all. I feel mynex is still trying to control me by refusing to let me take her away unless I comply. Is this normal or am right to refuse this?
martyn - 28-Apr-15 @ 8:27 PM
@G - you need to take this straight back to court as she is effectively in breach of the court order if she is not consenting to this. You need to do it sooner rather than later as it will take time for the hearing to be heard.
SeparatedDads - 31-Mar-15 @ 11:10 AM
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