As the first bank holiday since the Christmas period, the Easter break is an occasion to really look forward to. Many of us like to make the most of the two bank holidays, and rest from the school run, tagging on annual leave to extend the break or perhaps taking a trip away. But Easter isn’t always as simple and frivolous as the fluffy bunnies and mountains of Easter eggs we see in the shops at this time of year.

For parents who have separated, the Easter period can sometimes cause tensions to arise. Whether these are disagreements on who looks after the children – particularly when holidays are on the cards, or how many treats they are allowed; it can be a stressful time.

When making arrangements regarding children, it is important for parents to ensure that the welfare of the children remains at the forefront of any discussions. This is where Collaborative Law can help as it enables parents to work through matters of disagreement, allowing them to achieve a way forward that is agreeable to all parties without the need for court intervention.

So far as the Easter break is concerned, separated parents should always discuss in advance their holiday plans if these include any children of the relationship. In England and Wales, parents with joint Parental Responsibility must legally obtain the consent of the other parent before taking child(ren) abroad, unless a Child Arrangement Order has been made in which case the holder can travel with the child for up to 28 days– so it makes sense for parents to try and agree their holidaying arrangements in an amicable and calm setting, with the support of professional Collaborative Law practitioners. UK and foreign Border Control are increasingly in practice asking the travelling parent for a letter from the other parent confirming consent to travel. Agreeing arrangements in a collaborative meeting and having a letter signed can avoid potential embarrassment, upset and delay at Border Control.

Other issues can arise, such as how many Easter eggs the children are allowed to eat, or how much each parent spends on seasonal gifts. These may appear to be petty issues, but differing parental approaches to healthy eating and nutrition can be major sticking points for separated parents. As with any disagreement, it’s easy for the parties’ feelings to become entrenched. This is where the collaborative approach can help; as it encourages parents to respect each other’s wishes and feelings, whilst ensuring their own views are taken into account.

The Easter break provides a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends, and with a bit of forward planning and a little give and take on both sides; separated families can ensure that things remain sweet for the entirety of the holiday period. Happy Easter!