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Shared parenting can be difficult at the best of times and it is inevitable that separated or divorced parents will disagree with each other at times. To avoid stress in the summer holidays, a detailed parenting plan or agreed schedule for contact can make life easier for both the parents and the children.

 
  • Plan early – put together your plan for the 6 weeks holidays earlier in the year to allow time to discuss or make changes.
 
  • If you have any family events or you want to plan a holiday away, communicate with your ex-partner promptly to avoid any clashes or issues.
 
  • A detailed plan for the holidays and half terms will also help you organise any holiday you need to obtain from work and also highlight where you may need additional childcare from family, childminders or holiday clubs.
 
  • Agree on holidays abroad – for example how long will you allow for your child to be out of the country, is it one week? Or two weeks? What will the agreed contact be whilst away? Will you share itinerary? Are there any countries or places you would not be comfortable for your child to visit? Who will keep hold of the child’s passport?

  • If your children have a different surname to the parent they are travelling with, remember that some airport securities will expect a letter of consent from the mother or father. This is a simple letter to say that you agree to the child being taken out of the country for that period.
 
  • While often a touchy subject, it is important to discuss when it is appropriate to include new partners in holiday time.
 
  • Discuss your child’s clothing and belongings. Both parents should be responsible for providing clean clothes whilst staying at separate homes, but there may be some items – perhaps swimwear, kits or special/new clothing that would need to be returned. Children may wish to take certain toys, games or devices to the other parent’s house. It is important that this is agreed on and that items are looked after and returned. With electronic devices such as phones, tablets or game consoles it is important that both parents value the same rules about usage, downloads and ‘screen time’.
 
  • Finances – depending on your financial agreements upon separation, you may need to discuss how children will be financed during the holidays. For example, who will be paying for the holiday clubs?
 

Most importantly is to put the children first and make sure that they are safe, secure and happy throughout their school holidays – in preparation for the new school year ahead.

 

Mediation is an excellent forum to be able to discuss and agree the arrangements for your children over the school holidays. Our in-house Mediator, Laura Bell, will help you discuss any current issues and explore options that are available to you moving forward, in a neutral and impartial manner.

 

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.