Don't forget the passports! Travelling abroad post separation

Helena French, Associate in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, family and children team.
Helena French
2 min Read

Now that the weather is getting brighter, many of us are dreaming of the holidays we have coming up this summer. When you are separated and co-parenting, this can mean you have slightly more on your to-do list than other parents. My colleague Kate Macintosh recently set out the law regarding consent and practicalities as to travelling abroad with the agreement of the other parent.

Another issue to consider is travel documentation. HM Passport Office in recent months has been highlighting delays in issuing and renewing passports so this is something to consider early.

Surprisingly, although you need permission, when co-parenting, to take a child out of the country, you do not need permission to apply for a passport for the children. An application must be made by somebody who has parental responsibility. On the application, when first applying for a passport for a child you need to provide details of both parents. If you cannot provide these details, you need to explain the reason.

Although you do not legally need permission to make this application, it would be a good idea to inform the other parent that you are doing so. You can then agree on who will hold the passport between holidays. While you might be happy for one parent to have this all of the time if this cannot be agreed one option is to say that it simply stays with the parent who last took the child on holiday until it is needed by the next parent, who will then keep it. This way the passport alternates and nobody feels they are in control of the document. It is always worth keeping an eye on the dates of the passport’s expiry, as with more than one parent being responsible for the document it can be harder to keep track of when this should be renewed.

Holidays can be a wonderful experience for children. Taking steps early to organise them should ensure the process is less stressful and help you continue to co-parent without friction.

Briefings Individuals & families Russell-Cooke family law Helena French separation divorce children arrangements holiday arrangements travel tips