Communication in (buckets and) spades is the key to agreeing arrangements for children in the summer - Family Law Partners

Communication in (buckets and) spades is the key to agreeing arrangements for children in the summer

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With the long school summer holiday approaching fast, if you haven’t already thought about the arrangements for the children over this period now is the time to do so!

Agreeing holiday arrangements for children is often one of the most difficult tasks facing separated parents. Not only do parents have to consider the practical arrangements for the day-to-day care of the children, which in itself can be tricky when both parents work, but also their plans for taking the children away.

Early and constructive communication is the key to avoiding disputes and unnecessary money on lawyers and courts.

Here are a few tips to consider when trying to agree holiday arrangements:

  1. Plan early. Don’t put it off and leave it to the last minute. Ideally the arrangements for the summer should be agreed by the end of June at the latest. Give yourselves plenty of time to negotiate and reach a compromise.
  2. Talk! Separated parents naturally find it difficult to talk to each other, especially if your separation is relatively recent. However, it is important to remember that you are both parents and will always need to communicate about your children. Be the first to raise the subject but remember to discuss the options openly and with respect. Making demands will not help so be willing to compromise.
  3. Take a fair approach. Find ways of ensuring the children can enjoy time with both their parents. Accept that both parents may want to take the children away for a holiday and that refusing to agree to this will only impact negatively on the children.
  4. Listen to the children. Where possible, take into account their wishes and feelings. Allow them the opportunity to be honest without fear of upsetting either parent. Remember though, not to involve the children in the details – they do not need to know who paid for what and who refused or agreed to do it.
  5. Remember the details. Having a paper or online calendar available showing the important dates can make things much easier. Ensure times, dates, venues, collection and pick ups are all written down somewhere and you abide by them to avoid confusion and dispute later on. If you’re going away, provide the other parent with details of the travel arrangements and where you will be staying.
  6. Keep child focused. The law is clear that arrangements for children should be based on what is in their best interests rather than the ‘rights’ of parents.
  7. Be practical. Accept that you may have to work around several diaries due to work commitments etc. Be flexible where possible and exchange annual leave dates as soon as they are known. Try to avoid the children missing any school time.
  8. Don’t book anything until you have agreed the arrangements between you.
  9. Remember the passports! Check they are valid and agree who will hold them and how and when they will be handed over to the other parent.
  10. Avoid court. If you are still unable to agree on the arrangements then seek legal advice. There are various options to assist you such as Mediation and Collaborative Law. Court proceedings should be the last resort.

If you would like any advice ahead of the summer holidays please contact me on 01273 646900 or by email: [email protected]

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