Summer Holiday Parenting – What You Need to Know
Parenting is a difficult task at the best of times, no one gives you a 'how to' manual
to make life any easier.
Equally as difficult is parenting when you are separated and you no longer live with your children
. Learning to work together and be flexible is the best advice anyone can give, especially when it comes to the summer holidays.
Failure to Prepare - Prepare to Fail
The first bit of advice seems obvious, but it is something that some separated parents overlook, especially if the break up between them was bitter. Essentially, you both want the same thing, for your children to be happy and to spend time with them
over the summer.
So work together with the end goal in focus.
In tough financial times such as these, both of you may be working hard to make ends meet. You may worry that if you cannot have your child or children as often as the other parent demands
, it somehow reflects on you as a bad parent. This simply isn't true. If possible, try to come to a mutual understanding with your ex-partner
to work with them over the summer holidays to split the childcare and spend quality time with them
this summer. Working within the best interests of your child may also help
to improve the working relationship between you and the other parent long term.
Planning ahead can also help to alleviate some of the stress
that may come with parenting over the summer holidays. Phoning up your ex-partner and asking to see your children ad-hoc
may work for you, but it could be highly inconvenient for them. Likewise, having the kids dropped off on your doorstep at 8am on a Monday morning may be highly inconvenient for you, especially if you start a full day’s work at 9.
Whether you plan 4 weeks ahead, or at the end of each week you have a chat with the other parent, preparing a timetable that is convenient for both of you is vital
to avoid mishaps. Even more importantly, it provides the child with a structure to operate within day to day.
Planning a Trip, Let the Other Parent Know
If your child is old enough to contribute to the planning
of their own summer holiday with each parent, they should be involved. Knowing where they'll be and who it's with will help alleviate some of the stress from the separation
and still make them feel involved in the family.
If you are thinking of taking your children abroad this summer, don't be hasty. If you are on your child's birth certificate, you will have parental responsibility. This, however, does not mean that you can take your child out of the country without the other's permission
. If you do travel without the permission of the other parent with parental responsibility, you may be accused of child abduction
Give the other parent a good amount of time to think about and agree to allowing you
to take your children abroad. Do not book anything without their permission in the event that they may not agree. There is no law in the UK that dictates which parent should keep hold of your child's passport
but if you are prevented from receiving the passport, you can apply for a court order
to have it provided to you in good time. Itineraries, flight plans and arrival times and departure times are also pieces of information that you should provide to the other parent as a common courtesy
, especially if they agree to you taking your child on holiday.
Holidaying in the UK?
If you are holidaying within the UK, you don't usually need the other parent's permission but it would only be right to obtain it
. This will build a strong co-parent relationship of trust between the 2 of you and make it easier in the future if you plan on another trip.
Co-parenting doesn't have to be complicated, especially when you can work together for the best interests of the children. If one parent is being unreasonable, you can apply to the court to have special orders made
in your favour to allow a family holiday to go ahead. If this is the case, make sure that this is done well in advance of the holiday to avoid disappointment and delays.