What’s in a name?  Your holiday could be riding on it.

Now that we can all freely travel abroad again, Jane Charlton, legal director at Shakespeare Martineau in Milton Keynes considers steps that should be taken if travelling abroad with children who have a different surname.

A different surname might arise for a host of reasons, such as a divorce and subsequent name change, keeping a maiden name on marriage or re-marriage, or having a child with a double surname.

If a child, who is coming on holiday with an adult, does have a different surname, it’s important to be aware of the pitfalls of not having sufficient paperwork to show that the child is perfectly entitled to be on holiday with that person.

As well as the child’s passport, taking a paper trail to prove who their parents are is vital.  This includes the child’s birth certificate, and if the parent has changed their surname, the change of name deed, or their birth certificate if reverting to a maiden name. A copy of the final order (old decree absolute) may also be necessary.

Obtaining the written consent of the other parent or anyone who has parental responsibility for the child is another wise move and necessary in some circumstances. A properly drawn up consent form, or if that’s not possible, a letter from the other parent, confirming their full contact details, that they are the parent of the child and that they have given consent for the holiday, along with their signature, should suffice.

Having an awareness of the questions that might be asked at the immigration desk is important, as it allows a level of preparation between parent and child. They might be asked the identity of the other parent, for example.

Unless there is a Lives With Child Arrangements Court order in place and the trip is less than 28 days , consent is required from the other parent. So it’s important to have proof of the Court Order or proof of consent

If the other parent won’t agree to the holiday, it’s not too late, speaking to a family lawyer about obtaining an order from the court is an option.

Written by Jane Charlton,
legal director at Shakespeare Martineau in Milton Keynes