How Divorced Parents Can Avoid Meltdowns In School Summer Holidays
Photo by Limor Zellermayer on Unsplash
The countdown is underway to the summer holidays with classrooms buzzing with the prospect of what lies ahead - and who is going where this year.
Lasting around six weeks, the summer break is the longest in the school calendar. It also brings added challenges for separated and divorced parents - many of whom work full time and do not have extensive support networks.
Children will understandably want to spend as much time as possible with both parents along with their wider family and friends.
Here are some tips to ensure stability in a shared commitment to enable your children to have fun in the sun.
Try to set aside your differences to always put your children’s interests first. Planning in advance will avoid stress and confusion about arrangements for childcare, days out, and holidays at home and abroad.
Involve Children in Plans
Children and young people need certainty and security. Involve them as much as possible - and as far in advance as possible - in decision making to avoid any surprises. This helps them to adjust to new arrangements. Remember though that the decisions are yours. Whilst children need to feel heard, they do not want the responsibility for deciding the arrangements, especially where their parents may be in conflict.
Call on the Wider Family
Planning for a six-week break can be challenging. Call on your support network (if you have one) to help with shared responsibilities. This is also a positive opportunity for children to catch up with grandparents, step siblings and wider family members to re-establish existing bonds or forge new ones.
Taking Children Abroad
There are only two circumstances in which your ex can take your children abroad for up to a month without your permission. The first is if they have a Child Arrangements Order that verifies that a child “lives with” them, or if they secure a Court Order - called a Specific Issue Order - giving consent.
A Specific Issue Order is applied for if your ex does not have a Child Arrangements Order and thinks you are unreasonable in refusing permission. In these circumstances, the Court is asked to consider the facts of each case and decide whether the child should be allowed to travel. We always recommend taking expert advice from experienced family lawyers.
In our experience, a spirit of compromise, co-operation, and flexibility will help children make magical memories to reflect happily on in their formative years.
Nicki Mitchell is a Partner at Jones Myers family law firm.