Everybody loves a holiday, and the summer break provides a fantastic opportunity for separated parents to individually spend an extended period with their children, by arranging a family trip abroad. However, there are certain things to bear in mind before planning a holiday, and certainly before making a down-payment on that dream break in the sun.

Legal requirements

If both parents have parental responsibility and there are no court orders in place, then neither parent can take a child or children abroad without the approval of the other parent. If the other parent refuses to give permission, a court order will be required before the child or children can lawfully leave the country.

 It is sensible for parents to try to reach agreement, and seek to avoid court proceedings at all costs. If an arrangement can be made, it will save costs, help to maintain relationships between the parties (who are ultimately going to have to continue to co-parent until any children reach the age of 18 at a minimum) and avoid putting children through unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Common sense

Common sense dictates that if an agreement can be reached, the parent arranging the trip should liaise with the other parent on dates, accommodation and location. It’s important to respect the views of the remaining parent on suggested itineraries, and in particular on potential high risk activities such as scuba diving, rock climbing and skiing.

It’s also vital for the holidaying parent to provide the remaining parent with solid contact details for all points during the holiday. This is not only to cover emergency situations, but also to provide for each child’s needs. Teenagers and younger children alike can experience homesickness, particularly in a foreign country, and especially if they don’t usually spend extended periods of time with the parent they are away with.

Consider the children

Of course, the needs of the children should be the absolute priority. However, unfortunately they are often overlooked when arrangements for holidays are put in place. It is particularly important to ensure that each child is comfortable spending time with the parent proposing the holiday, and that they are happy with the suggested arrangements. No matter how exotic the location or how lovely the weather, a holiday spent with an unhappy child will not be enjoyable for anybody.

Talk, talk, talk

As ever, we recommend an open and honest approach when it comes to making holiday arrangements. A non-confrontational attitude can help to ensure that both parents and children are well catered for, to ensure an agreement can be reached that suit everybody.