School Holidays and the changing COVID-19 travel rules
With the announcement that from next month, those travelling to England and Scotland no longer require Covid testing, either before or after arrival, there may be a number of parents starting to think about foreign holidays with their child. This may especially be the case for those who have been cautious about international travel to date.
Throughout the pandemic, there have been a number of parents with different views on risk. This has led to conflict over what activities are appropriate, especially when this comes to arrangements for the children. For separated parents, if you’re thinking about taking your children on a holiday abroad then you should look to explore this with the other parent at the earliest opportunity.
Anyone taking a child abroad requires the consent of those with Parental Responsibility. If both parents have Parental Responsibility, then both parents will need to agree to the child being taken abroad unless that parent has a lives-with Order which permits them to remove the child from the Jurisdiction for up to 28 days. This may lead to disputes between a parent comfortable with international travel and a parent who does not wish to consent to the same.
If you are involved in a dispute around whether a parent should be able to take a child abroad for a holiday, you may need to seek the assistance of the Family Court. This can be either to get permission for the holiday under a Specific Issue Order, or to obtain restrictions preventing the holiday under a Prohibited Steps Order. When determining such issues, the Court will always look to decide what is in the best interest of the child or children in question. These decisions can take time, so early action can be necessary.
Vaccination Status of the Child
One factor that will be of consideration of the Court is the vaccination status of the child or children. If a child is not vaccinated, they will need to show proof of a negative Covid test taken two days before travel and must take a post-arrival PCR test. This means there is the potential of the child testing positive, which means they would be isolating in a foreign country. The risk of this would be a factor in any court’s decision, particularly if this would cause the child to miss school due to the extended stay abroad. If you are in dispute with the other parent over your child obtaining the Covid vaccine, we discussed this in a previous blog post Parental Disputes Regarding Covid Vaccinations in Children, so please click through on the link to read further information..
Finally, travel rules for the country you are visiting will also need to be taken into account.
If you wish to discuss your situation with one of our dedicated Family Lawyers, they will be able to provide advice tailored to your individual circumstances.
Please contact a member of our team on 0800 488 0218 to arrange a free appointment.
Watson Thomas Solicitors have offices in Fleet, Guildford, London, Bracknell, Camberley, Farnborough and Woking.
Watson Thomas are a dedicated team of Family Lawyers who specialise in all aspects of family law.
Our staff can work from home and access all systems so even if all are required to self-isolate this will not affect the day-to-day running of your case. We can also hold appointments via telephone and video conferencing, as needs be, to ensure that your service is not interrupted.