Summer Break – Advice for separated parents wishing to take their children on holiday

With the Summer break just around the corner, many families are excitedly planning their first big holiday of the year.  However, for separated parents who wish to take their children away, it isn’t always as simple as just packing your bags and hitting the road.

In order to reduce the potential for conflict around holiday season, good communication is absolutely key. It is imperative that separated parents discuss their holiday plans with one another, well in advance of any planned break. Whilst there is no prescribed timescale for notice, it would be advisable to share any proposed plans – including full details or where you are going, where you will be staying and how you can be contacted in the event of an emergency – at least one month in advance of travel. This will hopefully avoid any diary clashes and will also reassure the other parent that you have considered how these plans may affect them and allowed enough time to properly address any concerns that they may have.

What if we can’t agree?

In circumstances where parents are simply unable to reach agreement on arrangements for the school holidays, a solicitor will be able to guide you through the recommended next steps.  This is likely to include a referral to mediation whereby a qualified professional can support you in resolving the issues which are in dispute.

In circumstances where mediation is unsuccessful or not deemed appropriate, the only other option would to be to issue proceedings for a Specific Issue Order. In deciding whether or not to grant such an order, the court will consider what course of action is in the child’s best interests, weighing up all the circumstances of the case.

It is important to note that spending quality time with each parent is usually held to be in the best interests of a child and the court will therefore rarely determine that a holiday is not in their best interests unless there are significant welfare or safeguarding concerns. As such, we would always strongly recommend that parents take all reasonable steps to avoid any unnecessary court applications by following the tips outlined above.

How can we help?

If you are thinking of making holiday arrangements for your children or have reached an impasse in discussions with your ex-partner, please do not hesitate to contact Solicitor, Ellie Straughan, by telephone on (0191) 384 2441 or by email at  

This article is for general information only.  It does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published and we would always recommend that you seek specific advice on any particular legal issue.

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