Do you and your child have different surnames? Want to get through customs quicker? Read on….

29 June 2018

With the summer holidays fast approaching, most families are preparing for the week or two of sunshine. Whilst organising the children can be hectic for those families who do not share the same surname, leaving the country can be more difficult than it would seem.

For various reasons many parents, generally mothers, may not share the same surname as their children this might be due to a divorce having them reverted to their maiden surname or having re-married and taken on their new partners surname etc. Essentially the mothers surname being different to that of the child can lead to questions being asked at boarder control.

All airports and ports have checks in place to ensure children are not simply being kidnapped and will often query and ask for proof as to why the surnames are different. Not being prepared can lead to a huge amount of stress and potentially missed flights.

So what can you do to ensure there are no last minute hiccups at check in?

An explanation of your situation is generally not enough – officials will also require sight of documents that support your documents with the documents being able to be verified.

A good starting point is carrying your child’s birth certificate. This will confirm the child’s name at birth and DOB along with both parents name.

However if you have since taken on your partners surname due to marriage or just changed your name following a divorce then it would be sensible to ensure to also have with you, your marriage certificate, change of name deed and / or your decree absolute.

Some countries may also raise issue if it is not apparent that you have the child’s fathers permission to travel abroad. In this situations it would be wise to obtain written consent from the father (and anyone else who may have parental responsibility for the child) giving you permission to travel abroad with the child.

Note however if you have obtained a Child Arrangements Order from the Court then technically you only need to obtain the other parent’s consent to the trip if you are going abroad for more than 28 days.

When packing this summer, aside from the suncream, shorts and passport make sure to put a file together of all your relevant paperwork!