With the summer holidays fast approaching many children are looking forward to at least six weeks of time away from the classroom. However, this can be a challenging time for parents, especially those who are newly separated.
The opportunity to spend quality time with their children over the summer holidays is often an emotional issue which separated parents can find difficult to resolve. It is always best for parents to work together to resolve these issues and this is the stance which the Court take. However, in some circumstances, it is necessary to ask the Court to make a decision on this issue.
When the Court gets involved in these issues, the child’s welfare will be the paramount consideration. The Court will consider a list of factors, known as the ‘welfare checklist’ when deciding what is best for a child.
Generally speaking, if both parents are loving and caring and have been involved in the child’s upbringing, the Court will recognise that the children will benefit from quality time with both parents. As such, important times such as Christmases, birthdays and Easter may be alternated between the parents.
Particular thought needs to be given to international travel as parents wanting to take their children abroad must remember to obtain the consent of each party with parental responsibility before they leave the country. Failure to do so could result in unnecessary court proceedings or even criminal action. In addition, it is often sensible for the parent taking the children abroad to provide information to the other parent such as accommodation and flight details in the event of an emergency.
The Court’s view is that parents are best placed to make decisions about their children’s welfare and wherever possible, they will avoid getting involved. However, when parents cannot resolve issues about holidays and care arrangements generally, there are number of ways of achieving resolution without applying to the Court.
Solicitors do not need to be involved immediately if this will cause conflict and be perceived as adversarial. A mediator, family therapist or counsellors can assist and help facilitate discussions to reach a solution.
If these methods are unsuccessful then solicitors can assist in the negotiations and help the parties to achieve a resolution and focus on what is best for the child.
If you would like to speak to Victoria Strode, our specialist child solicitor & mediator, call her on 01225 750000 (Bath) or 01749 342323 (Wells).