What any parent travelling abroad with a child with a different surname should know

Parents are being urged to make sure their holiday is not ruined if they are taking their children abroad who have different surnames to the parents.

It’s quite common for a parent to have a different last name but many parents are unaware of the problems it can cause at airports.
According to the Manchester Evening News as many as 600,000 parents are stopped, grilled  or deal with the ordeal of being turned away at the border control.

A lawyer has warned mums and dads that they could ‘unknowingly end up embroiled in a child abduction case, be refused past check-in, or turned away at border control’ if they fail to take the right documents with them.

Hannah Marshall was one such parent, who was stopped with her daughter Lilly at London Stansted Airport when they returned from a holiday in Denmark.

Hannah who was 28 at the time , wasn’t married to Lilly’s dad Scott, so while Lilly had the dad’s surname Marshall, Hannah’s still  was Thomas.

Hannah said “While queuing I went to one desk with my daughter and my partner and his mum went to another desk for passport control.
“They looked at both mine and my daughter’s passports then asked me how I knew the little girl and when I said it was my daughter they asked why I did not have the same last name.

“They asked my daughter who I was to her and that’s when my partner came over and explained that she’s his daughter too and as we weren’t married she had his last name.

“They told us that my partner should have taken her through passport control because I would need to prove she was my daughter. They checked my partner’s passport to prove she held the same last name and then let us through.”

It can be challenging for a person to prove they are a child’s parent on the spot, unless they are carrying the right documents.
Solicitors in the UK advice parents to plan ahead to avoid being caught out. Lack of proper documentation if child does not share the same surname as the parent could end up parent getting embroiled in a child abduction case, could be turned away at the border control or be refused past check-in.

For a smooth sail, having the correct documentation is vital in such cases.

David Connor heads up the family department at Woodcocks Haworth and Nuttall Solicitors says “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.”

He added: “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 revert back to their maiden name. A change of name deed will help here, which can be supplied by a solicitor. Take a copy of your child’s birth certificate with you too to prove who you are.”

You won’t need permission from an absent parent if they’re not on the child’s birth certificate, but if an absent parent has passed away you may be required to take the death certificate with you.

If an absent parent doesn’t consent to you taking the child out of the country you will need to go to court to try and resolve the matter.
For further information about seeking permission to take children abroad, visit the government website here .


Tags: travel with kids

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