It’s no secret that most children greet the school holidays with open arms, viewing them as a well-earned break from their learning. However, they can prove to be difficult to juggle for parents – especially if you’re bringing up children alone. We count down our top ten tips for separated parents during the school holidays.
The holiday period is more often than not viewed as a nightmare for separated parents, what with facing complicated and costly childcare arrangements, working pressures and ultimately trying to keep bored children occupied throughout the school holidays. Disagreements can flare up about where the children will split their time between parents and holidays abroad, reminding everyone that family life has indeed changed dramatically. Our Family Solicitors here at Pinney Talfourd have rounded up their top ten tips on how to survive and thrive as a separated parent during the school holidays.
Consider holiday dates early in the year. Do not leave it until a month before you want to go to discuss holiday dates with the other parent – they may be intending on taking the child away at that time also.
It is advised to ensure that both parents agree at the beginning of each year who will spend what time with the children during each of the school holidays. If the beginning of the year is too early to plan for the summer holiday, then ensure you have agreed on dates for the summer holiday by no later than the Easter school break.
Parents may find it easier to agree to the same pattern each year for the 6-week holidays, e.g. the mother has the child week 1, the father has the child week 2, the mother has the child weeks 3 and 4, and father has the child weeks 5 and 6.
Make sure you discuss with the other parent the arrangements for holidays, such as dates and places of intended travel. This will ensure any disputes or disagreements can be dealt with before any booking is made.
Do not book the holiday, hotel or flights until you have agreed to the dates and location with the other parent. The last thing anyone wants is for there to be two holidays booked at the same time or an objection being raised at the last minute by the other parent about the place of your intended holiday.
Provide the other parent with details about the holiday as soon as you have them available; as a minimum, you should provide the following to the other parent:
Check with your airline whether they will require a letter of consent from the other parent; this is particularly relevant where you do not have the same surname as your child. Some airlines will require the consent of the other parent before allowing a child to travel with only one parent.
Agree with the other parent how the child will keep in touch with them, e.g. by phone, Skype or FaceTime. It might be impossible to connect to Wi-Fi or get a good phone signal if you are travelling somewhere obscure – make sure you plan for this and inform the other parent.
Also, discuss and agree on the frequency of the communication; interrupting your child’s holiday every day with phone calls may do them more harm than good. You are best advised to let the other parent know that you have arrived safely and facilitate communication between the child and the other parent; perhaps one phone call thereafter if you are away for one week, or twice if you are away for two weeks.
Your child will probably want to bring a holiday gift back for the other parent and or siblings or send a postcard to them. You should encourage this and allow them to do so.
If you are separated and are looking for more advice on your legal rights as a parent, Pinney Talfourd Solicitors are here to help. We have an experienced and dedicated team of specialist family lawyers based in our offices in Essex and London.
We have evening and weekend appointments available and offer a free initial 30-minute consultation for all new family law enquiries. You can book your free initial family consultation using our online booking form or by calling your local office. This half hour appointment will allow you to explain the situation with an expert lawyer and discuss the best steps to minimise stress and delays.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.