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Ask The Legal Expert - Parental Consent

View profile for Angela Killa
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My 9-year-old daughter lives with my ex, who has remarried. My ex-wife and I had a recent row and she’s refusing to let me take our daughter abroad next month, as previously arranged. What can I do?

Disputes such as these are stressful for all concerned, not least the child, and the best solution is to try to come to an amicable solution together, via mediation.

However, you are facing a common scenario and I usually advise parents who are separated and who want to arrange holidays abroad with children to get written consent, including details of the holiday, flight times, departure and arrival airports, contact details of the parent giving consent etc, which should be signed and dated.

Time is against you here, so I would advise that, unless your ex changes her mind in the next few days, an application should be made to the Court for a Specific Issue Order with a request that the Court deals with the application urgently.

If your ex-wife changes her mind regarding consent within the next few days I would advise that you get her agreement in writing, to avoid difficulties at the airport. This is particularly important if you have a different surname to your child.

Before you take your daughter out of the country, the law requires consent from all who have Parental Responsibility for her - in this case, that includes your ex-wife.

If someone has an order that a child lives with them they can take a child out of the country for up to 28 days without the consent of others who have parental responsibility, unless a court order says otherwise.

In your Specific Issue Application you should explain the details of the holiday, provide the Court with copies of your booking documents, details of where you are staying, and copies of return flight documents, to illustrate that you intend to return to the UK at the end of the trip.

When the Court deals with your application they will consider what is in your daughter’s best interests. Unless there are strong reasons why she shouldn’t go on holiday with you, it is likely they will feel a holiday is in your child’s best interests - the Court will also take your daughter’s wishes into consideration.

If there are other issues in relation to the arrangements for you to spend time with your daughter, you could also make an application to the Court for a Spending Time With Child Arrangement Order.

For more information, please contact Angela on 01267 248893 or by email at

Angela is an Associate Solicitor in our Family Team based at our Carmarthen Office.  Angela specialises in all aspects of Family Law including complex children matters, divorce, and financial remedies. Angela is a fluent Welsh speaker.

For further advice, please contact our specialist Family Solicitors in:

  • Swansea: 01792 773773
  • Cardiff: 02920 225472
  • Carmarthen: 01267 234022
  • Caerphilly: 02920 860628
  • Cowbridge: 01446 771742
  • Haverfordwest: 01437 764723
  • Fishguard: 01348 873671

The question posed in this blog is based on a hypothetical situation.