Early planning the key to avoiding summer holiday “minefield”

when co-parenting after separation 

A family lawyer has said where separated parents share the care of their children, early communication and planning are key to avoiding potential conflict over child arrangements during the summer holidays.

Without a Child Arrangements Order (CAO) in place, it is open to parents to agree holiday arrangements for their children, which can be included in a Parenting Plan to provide a formal record of any standing agreements.

Rosie Eastwood, an Associate within Kent law firm Furley Page’s Family Law team, said: “Co-parenting after separation can be challenging at the best of times, but navigating the six-week summer holidays can become a minefield. Generally, the further in advance dates for holiday periods are discussed, the more likely they are to be agreed.”

“For holidays abroad, where both parents have parental responsibility and there is no existing CAO in place, consent will need to be sought from the other parent before taking a child out of the jurisdiction of England and Wales.

“If consent is refused, the parent wishing to take the child abroad must seek permission from the Court to do so, as leaving the country without consent could amount to a criminal offence.

“As to how the holiday period is divided, there is no single defining rule. Ultimately, the parents should make the decision based on what is best for their child/ren. If the parents cannot agree, then they should seek guidance from a family mediator in the first instance who can assist by facilitating constructive dialogue.

“Where mediation is not suitable, or the dispute is simply too complex to be settled in this way, parents may have to look to the Court for resolution. The Court will consider a number of factors, including the child’s age and sex, emotional physical and health needs, wishes and feelings, and the parent’s ability to meet these needs, before determining what holiday arrangements are in the child’s best interests.”

Furley Page’s family law team has a wealth of experience advising on child arrangement matters. Please telephone 01227 763939 and speak to Rosie Eastwood or email rme@furleypage.co.uk for assistance.