How to plan the perfect summer holiday with your children
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Don’t let child contact arrangements come between you and your family when planning the perfect trip away.
Specialist family lawyer, Gemma Sparks from The Family Law Company in the South West, shares her top tips to help separated parents spend an idyllic summer with their children and create some unforgettable memories.
Q: How can separated parents best prepare for a summer holiday in 2021?
A: Planning is essential, especially this year as you will need to consider what travel restrictions are in place, if you need to self-isolate beforehand, and ensure Covid-19 tests are taken before flying.
Make sure you stay in regular contact with the other parent to ensure they are aware of all travel plans. It is best to iron out any concerns before booking your holiday to avoid disappointment.
When you are away, I recommend setting aside some agreed time for a Skype or video call so your children can check in with the other parent and let them know they have arrived safely. It is important to recognise the other parent’s needs and be flexible where possible. It is not unusual for them to feel anxious or miss the children, and addressing these concerns will ensure you can get the most from your holiday and promote co-parenting.
Q: Do I need consent from my child’s other parent, to take them away?
A: It’s important to understand your rights before planning a holiday – we can offer advice and guidance to make this process simple and stress-free.
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You will not need consent from the other parent to take your child away for less than a month outside the UK if you are named on a Child Arrangements Order (CAO) as the parent they live with. However, I would recommend seeking consent where possible to reassure the other parent, maintain good relations and prevent any disruption to plans.
You will need consent from the other parent to go on holiday if you are not named on the CAO as the parent with whom the child lives. Should the other parent withhold consent, you can apply to the court for a Specific Issues Order or Prohibited Steps Order (PSO), and they can decide if the holiday should go ahead.
We can advise the best course of action for your family and ensure the needs of your child come first.
Q: What can I do if we can’t agree on child contact arrangements?
A: We advise most separated parents who are struggling to resolve contact difficulties to try mediation. In many cases, an independent mediator can help to identify your concerns, co-parent effectively, and facilitate negotiations to achieve a fair contact plan for all. Mediation can help you avoid costly and lengthy court proceedings and prevent unnecessary distress.
If mediation is unsuccessful or unsuitable, then you should seek help from a specialist family lawyer. We can assist you in reaching an agreement outside of court, and if this isn’t possible, make an application under The Children Act for a Court Order.
Q: Why seek professional legal advice from a specialist family solicitor?
A: We offer objective, bespoke legal solutions to find the best resolution for you and your family. You can understand your options, learn your rights, take control of the process and make the best decision in your child’s interests.
We are able to offer our services by video link, helping to keep you and your family safe as lockdown restrictions ease. Your first appointment is free and we will put you in contact with one of our specialist lawyers who can address your concerns, offer tailored advice and plan what your next steps will be.
We understand separation isn’t easy, but we are the experts who can offer the guidance and support you need to help your family move forward, together.
The Family Law Company is one of the largest specialist family law firms in the country with offices in Exeter, Plymouth and Taunton. We specialise in all matters of family law including divorce, separation, financial settlements, domestic abuse and child care.
Visit thefamilylawco.co.uk for more information.
Call the specialist children team on 01392 421777 to discover how they can help you.