I'm a divorce lawyer and there's a simple passport rule separated parents must know – or you risk ruining your holiday | The Sun

A DIVORCE lawyer has revealed the simple passport rule that separated parents must follow.

While introduced to prevent child trafficking, it could result in unaware families facing additional procedures and even missing their flight.

The lesser-known rule is applicable to parents travelling with children who have a different surname.

According to Jennifer Moore, who is a Legal Director at Rayden Solicitors, an international law firm specialising in divorce, parents may need to prove they're allowed to travel abroad with their own child.

As well as carrying the child's passport, separated parents will need to provide extra documentation like the child's birth or adoption certificate.

Parents may also need to bring their marriage certificate or Decree Absolute (a divorce certificate) to prove their relationship to the child.

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Guardians must bring other documents too like a sealed copy of any Court Order, and a consent letter from the person who has parental responsibility for the children travelling on holiday.

Jennifer said: "The UKVI are alert to the risk of child abduction (the unlawful removal of a child from their country of habitual residence) and also child trafficking.

"They will often now check that the adult travelling has the appropriate consent, particularly if the child does not have the same surname."

In addition to the above documents, Moore recommends that you perform three vital checks before going on your summer holiday.

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Parents should see if the airline has any specific requirements as well as checking with embassies in the UK and abroad for any other additional requirements.

Jennifer added: "This is particularly important as some countries have very specific and strict requirements such as South Africa and the USA, thus although you may have what documents you need to leave the UK, you may not have what you need to be granted entry to the country you are travelling to."

Mum of two, Catherine Lofthouse, thinks it’s "ridiculous" in this day and age that any parent can be stopped because their child might have a different surname.

In an article in Sun Online Travel, she wrote: "Why should parents who do have the same surname have less scrutiny? 

"If there's an issue with child safety, there should be a blanket rule that applies to all adults, regardless of whether your surname matches that of the child.

"I can think of loads of families who might be disadvantaged otherwise.

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"What if you're taking your foster child away for their first trip abroad? What if you're in a blended family and not everyone has the same surname?"

Brits applying for their child's first passport may run into issues if they are a single parent.

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If divorced, both couples must be named on the passport form, and if this is not possible then it must be explained why.

Here is how to apply for your child's passport.

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