School holidays have begun and children across the UK are looking forward to a long summer of sunshine and ice cream. However, for some separated parents it is not just too much sun which might cause a headache during the summer holidays.
A frequent issue for separated parents is where their child should spend their holiday, especially when the separation is recent and there are logistical issues to overcome. Agreeing how much time a child should spend with each parent during their holidays can be difficult, causing conflict between parents and disappointment for the child. So what can you do if your former partner is causing problems over holiday arrangements?
If you and your partner have separated and you cannot agree how much time your child should spend with each parent, it may be necessary to apply to the court for a Child Arrangement Order. The order can set out who your child should live with and how much time they should spend with the other parent. This can cover holidays, special occasions and other forms of contact, such as Facetime or Skype.
In certain circumstances, you must attend mediation with your former partner. In mediation you will meet with a trained mediator and have the opportunity to try to resolve the dispute without having to go to Court.
If parents cannot reach an agreement in mediation then an application to the Court can be made. Before making an order, the Court will first consider if it is in the child’s best interests to do so. The Court can then either make an order by consent or at a Final Hearing after hearing evidence.
A Child Arrangements Order usually lasts until a child is 16, but it can be varied or discharged at any time by the Court if this is in the child’s best interest.