We know that making arrangements for holidays with your children following divorce or separation can be tricky, so here are our top tips for handling plans:
1. Start Early
Ideally you should start thinking about the arrangements for longer holidays at least six months in advance, with the intention of agreeing a schedule at least three months before school breaks up. This gives plenty of time for conversations about how the holidays (and the childcare!) can be shared before flights need to be booked and time off work requested.
2. Think about Travel
If you are both planning to take the children away for part of the holidays, make sure that you consider travel time and logistics. Unexpected travel delays are stressful enough without the additional pressure of rushing back in time for a handover. Agreeing an extra night either side of a planned holiday will cut down on stress. You should also consider who will be responsible for looking after the children’s passports and what the arrangements will be for these to be passed to the travelling parent ahead of a holiday. Unless they are in use, this should be done well in advance to avoid any last minute panic.
3. Factor in down time
As exciting as the idea of two summer holidays may be, if there is no down-time in between holidays with both parents, the result will be tired, fractious children. If you can work together when booking time away to ensure that there is some downtime for the kids between holidays this is likely to avoid friction in the longer run, and ensures that the children get the most out of their time away.
4. Be Flexible
There are no hard and fast rules about school holidays. What works for one family won’t work for another and this may change year on year depending on the children’s ages and interests. Whether you continue a term time pattern or divide the holidays into longer periods of time, some flexibility is likely to be required to ensure that holiday bookings and childcare commitments can be accommodated. If the children are spending longer periods of time away from one parent then embrace other ways of keeping in contact –Facetime or a telephone call can ensure that the connection is maintained and alleviate any worries for the other parent.
5. Work Together
Communication and compromise are key here, considering and accommodating a request for the occasional longer holiday, or offering to help look after the children if the other parent has a work commitment will stand you in good stead for making a similar request yourself in the future and will ultimately benefit the children. If you can’t sit down together to discuss the arrangements, consider using mediation to facilitate the conversation or talking to a solicitor who will negotiate on your behalf and ensure the conversations remain constructive and child focused.
We are here to help you with all areas of family law. Mediation lets you negotiate and resolve family law disputes out of court and is often quicker and cheaper. Our solicitors can support you the whole way with our family mediation support service.