Separated Parents - How can you agree holiday arrangements for the children?


We are reaching the summer holidays and some parents find it difficult to agree the arrangements for taking the children away.

I want to take my children on holiday and my ex won't agree. Coming up to the summer holidays the issue of holiday time and how it is to be shared often arises between separated couples.

Agreeing arrangements for the holidays can be difficult when you are separated. You may both want to take the children away at the same time, you may both have employers who will only allow you certain time off or there may be a reason why you are not comfortable with your ex partner taking the children away on holiday.

Where children are regularly spending overnights with both parents we do expect each parent to be able to take the children on holiday. It may be that the length of time the children are away has to be built up. For example, if they have only ever spent two nights away from the primary carer it may be a bit much for them to then go on a two week holiday. This won't apply to every family, some children may be absolutely fine with such an arrangement but for others a more gradual approach may be required. 

If you do wish to take the children away then it is expected that the other parent has details of the holiday. This would include the dates, the address at which the children are staying and if international travel becomes more normal again then flight numbers. Sharing this information isn't about one parent giving their permission for the children to go away but is for emergencies. 

For some families there are deeper concerns about the children being away with the other parent for a holiday. Those concerns can vary but some examples I have experienced include concerns about the parent drinking excessively when on holiday, other adults who may be on the holiday, that the child is reluctant to go. At the top end of the scale is the worry of whether the children will be returned to this country. If there are fears the children would not be returned to this country then you should seek legal advice as to what steps could be taken. Such a situation is not usually suitable for mediation in the early stages but may come to mediation once the concerns have been addressed.

Mediation can help with all other concerns and worries and help you find a way forward which is focused upon what is in the children's best interests and how holidays can be managed in the best way for the children. 

There are significant delays in the court system and getting before a judge about a holiday in time for the holiday to take place can mean the application needs to be started many months before the holiday is due to start. In the current climate, some courts would struggle to list an urgent hearing before the summer holidays start now that we are only 5 weeks away from the end of term. Mediation can take place very swiftly if needed and it allows you to discuss issues around the holiday which perhaps the court would not allow you to raise. To ensure the holiday can take place it will often require some reassurances before or during the holiday and it can often be quite easy to enable the holiday.

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