Child arrangements and the impending summer holidays…

Rosie Eastwood


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June 29, 2022

Categories Family Law

Co-parenting after separation can be difficult to navigate at the best of times, however throw in holidays abroad, together with a 6-week long summer holiday, and it can become a minefield.

Without an existing Child Arrangements Order in place, it is open to parents to agree between them the holiday arrangements for their children at first instance. Experience shows us that typically, the further in advance dates for holiday periods are discussed, the more likely they are to be agreed.

If an agreement is reached it can be helpful to record it in a Parenting Plan ( ). Whilst this is not a binding document, it enables both parents to be clear on the arrangements agreed and make reference to the same in the future (thereby avoiding scrolling through numerous Whatsapp messages 2 months down the line to clarify the arrangements!).

As to holidays abroad, where both parents have Parental Responsibility for a child and there is no Child Arrangements Order in place, consent will need to be sought from the other parent before taking a child out of the jurisdiction of England and Wales.

It is best practice to provide full details of the holiday to the parent staying behind in case of an emergency, such as providing the address for where you will be staying, a contact number for the hotel if applicable, and both the outbound and inbound flight details. If consent is still refused however, the parent wishing to take the child abroad would need to seek permission of the Court to do so. Failure to get consent or permission from the Court could amount to the criminal offence of abduction.

If there is already an existing Child Arrangements Order in which it is recorded the child lives with you, then you are permitted to take your child abroad for a period of 28 days without seeking consent, unless a Court Order states otherwise. This is provided it does not interfere with the other parent’s time with the child under the terms of the Order. If it will interrupt that time then consent will be needed or permission from the Court before you can take the child abroad.

As to how the 6-week holiday is to be divided, there is no one rule fits all – ultimately, the focus is your child, and what is best for them. If you cannot agree what holiday arrangements would be in the best interests of your child then parents are encouraged to seek guidance from a family mediator. These are specially trained professionals who facilitate constructive discussions between the parents with a view to an agreement being reached.

Where mediation is not suitable, or the dispute is simply too complex to be settled in this way, parents may have to look to the Court for resolution. When determining what holiday arrangements should be ordered, if any, the Court will consider the ‘welfare checklist’. The welfare checklist comprises of factors including the age of the child, sex of the child, risk of harm to the child, the child’s emotional, physical and health needs (and how capable a parent is in meeting those), the child’s wishes and feelings (considered in light of their age and understanding), and the current status quo.

Furley Page’s family law team has a wealth of experience advising on child arrangement matters. Please telephone 01227 763939 and speak to Rosie Eastwood or a member of our team for assistance.