With the summer holidays here and the sun finally shining, we can all look forward to some relaxed time with friends and family. For separated parents though it is not simply a case of stocking up on ice lollies and digging out the sun cream. The summer holidays can bring a host of complications, requiring a lot of planning and a good dose of compromise. The division of the holidays will need to be agreed in advance, which can sometimes be challenging with an ex-partner.
If you find yourself full of dread at the prospect of negotiating summer plans, Blacks’ family law team can help, with our top tips for a peaceful summer break.
- Plan early – Children like to know what is happening and need a sense of routine. As tempting as it may feel to put off making plans, you need to start talking early, laying down some firm plans about who will be where, when and with whom. Good planning is the key to ensuring that everyone, most of all the children, can enjoy a relaxed summer break.
- Be flexible – As much as any work commitments allow, try to remain flexible when negotiating spending time with the children in the summer. If you can maintain good communication and compromise with the other parent early on you will be setting the tone for a good working partnership.
- Don’t compete – Competing as to who can take the children away for the best holiday or day out is not a good idea. If there is a financial imbalance between you as parents, do not use this as a bribing tool with the children.
- Maintain communication – It can be difficult for children to be away from the parent staying at home. Be prepared for this by agreeing when and how contact will be maintained. Young children may want to speak to the other parent regularly and this should be arranged in advanced. Emails and texts are great for older children. Helping your child buy a holiday gift for the other parent is a good way to encourage their relationship as well.
- Be fair – Stick to the arrangements that have been agreed. If you need to make any changes communicate with the other parent as soon as you can so that adjustments can be made.
- Be organised – Before leaving for a holiday make sure you provide the other parent with contact numbers, copies of passports, travel details and details of your accommodation.
- Obtain consent –
- If you are travelling abroad and there is no court order in place then you will need written permission from the other parent with Parental Responsibility which you should carry with the children’s passports. A signed letter is usually sufficient and this should contain the other parents contact details and the details of the holiday, although you may need to have this prepared by a Notary Public as some countries require the same.
- If it is not possible to get consent then you may need to consider making an application to court for a Specific Issue Order.
- If there is a court order in place which says the child must live with you then you can take a child abroad for 28 days without getting consent from the other parent, however, it would be sensible to travel with a copy of the court order.
- Take advice and keep calm – If you find yourself faced with a complicated situation, struggling to keep your cool; take some advice. We are happy to talk you through your options to help you find a resolution.