What you need to know when holidaying with a child who doesn’t share your surname

With an ever-growing number of people choosing to have children outside of marriage, it isn’t uncommon for a child not to share surnames with both their parents.

But parents are having to deal with being stopped, quizzed or even refused past border control when going on holiday with their child – simply because they don’t share the same surname.

David Connor explains what you need to do to ensure a smooth trip.

The risks

In a bid to crackdown on the number of child abduction cases, border control has strict measures in place when letting children in and out of the country.

This means people need to take extra precaution when holidaying with children who don’t share their surname, as they could unknowingly end up embroiled in child abduction allegations, be refused past check-in, or turned away at border control.

It’s vital you have the correct documentation to hand or it could derail your trip.

What do I need?

For separated families, you’ll need evidence of approval from your child’s other parent, but remember to seek approval from everyone with parental responsibility – this may include grandparents too.

Have this consent from each person in writing and take it away with you.

You’ll also need a copy of any Child Arrangement Order which proves you have court approval to take the child abroad.

It’s vital that all evidence marries up and this is where divorced parents are often caught out, particularly women who choose to revert back to their maiden name. A change of name deed will help here, as your current surname may not be that stated on the Child Arrangement Order or other paperwork. This can be supplied by a solicitor.

Take a copy of your child’s birth certificate with you too.

You won’t need permission from a child’s parent if they’re not named on the birth certificate, however if they are named on the birth certificate but have passed away, you will need to take the death certificate with you.

If an absent parent – or someone who holds parental responsibility – does not give permission for the child to go on the holiday, then you will need to go to court to resolve the matter.

Taking a friend’s children away

These precautions also apply to taking a friend’s child away with you, as you will also need the permission of the child’s other parent too, as well as all others that hold parental responsibility.

This is a complex area of law and if you do not have the correct documentation to hand when travelling, your holiday plans could be derailed.

For information on taking a child who doesn’t share your surname out of the country, or for advice on any other family law matter, contact David Connor on 01706 225621 or email him at david.connor@whncsolicitors.co.uk