As we finally welcome the better weather, our thoughts often turn to the upcoming summer season. Planning can be challenging for separated parents, especially during the school holidays as they balance children’s activities with work commitments. Creating a summer plan that includes trips, holiday clubs, and other activities can feel overwhelming.

According to the government’s most recent estimate, 4 million children are living in the UK across 2.5 million separated families. Co-parenting is advised to make sure the children’s best interests are served after a divorce.

Here at Hansells, our guide helps separated families navigate this process to reduce stress for everyone involved.

How to plan a holiday as a separated parent

Early Planning

Planning ahead is crucial. Last-minute arrangements can add stress and strain, making it harder to manage expectations and leading to heightened emotions. Starting discussions early or outlining proposals in writing can ensure fair holiday arrangements. Considerations like UK or overseas holidays should be discussed promptly to accommodate travel plans, work leave, and childcare needs.

Sharing Time

Every family is unique, so holiday arrangements should fit your specific situation. Whether following a Court Order or a flexible parenting plan, some opt for alternating weeks, while others split or combine weeks to include trips and shared time afterwards. Planning travel details in advance helps establish a clear schedule and reduces travel-related stress.

Plan with family or friends to help with childcare when annual leave isn’t possible, apart from deciding where children will stay. Booking holiday clubs or a childminder early is also advisable.

Traveling Abroad

Discussing holiday plans, including trips abroad, well in advance is wise. Agreeing on passport arrangements, vaccinations, travel insurance, and medications is essential. When separated, both parents with parental responsibility must consent to travel abroad. Document this consent in writing, and check if the destination country requires specific forms.

Once flights and accommodations are booked, share details and emergency contacts with the other parent.

Keeping in Touch

Establishing a communication routine during extended holidays helps children maintain contact with both parents. Some prefer a set schedule, while others opt for flexibility. Shorter, more frequent calls might suit younger children better.

Looking Ahead

Consider preparations for the new school year amidst summer plans. This includes buying uniforms or school shoes, completing any necessary schoolwork, and familiarising children with their school route if they’ll be commuting independently.

Reflect on this summer’s arrangements to plan effectively for the future. Adjustments may be needed based on what worked well or what could improve.

Seeking Assistance

If agreement becomes difficult, mediation or legal advice can help. Mediation can facilitate agreement on holiday plans, while legal assistance may be necessary for more complex issues, such as international travel disputes. Seeking help early ensures potential issues are resolved before the holidays, minimising stress.

By planning early and communicating effectively, separated parents can create a positive and stress-free summer for their children and themselves. However, unforeseen situations can arise, particularly regarding child arrangements or financial agreements. If you find yourself facing challenges, seeking professional guidance from a family law solicitor can be invaluable.

Seeking help from a family law solicitor

Hansells Solicitors is here to help. Emma Gallant, a family law specialist with extensive experience in divorce and child arrangements, offers a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your situation. Our team can provide expert legal advice and support throughout the process, ensuring you understand your rights and options, including restraining orders, divorce proceedings, and child custody arrangements.

Contact Emma Gallant today.

Take the first step towards your holiday, contact Hansells Solicitors today to schedule your free consultation with Emma Gallant.

Emma Gallant | Associate Family