With the Easter holidays fast approaching, child arrangement order disputes between parents can arise. School holidays can be a contentious time for separated parents, with disagreements over where children should spend their time. The question is, how can child arrangement order disputes be resolved amicably?
It’s not uncommon for child arrangement order disputes to occur more frequently during school holidays, with many separated parents having differing views about what’s in the best interests of a child.
In term time, the majority of parents will stick to a child arrangement order. However, outside term time is often the cause of disputes. Using the Easter holiday as an example, it may be that the resident parent wants to take a child on holiday for two weeks, meaning the other parent would not see their child (ren) during the Easter break.
The opposite extreme is that the resident parent might require the non-resident parent to have the children more often than a child arrangement order allows, for example, in the summer holidays which can last more than six weeks.
The most important thing to remember
Child arrangement order disputes can be very unsettling for children. The important thing to remember is a child’s welfare. The ideal is to split the time spent with each parent in the school holidays, equally. For example, rather than a resident parent taking a child on holiday for the entire two weeks of the Easter break, reduce the holiday to one week.
It’s important to demonstrate flexibility as parents. This will help to make child arrangements less of a confrontation and more of a collaborative approach, which is much healthier for parents and children.
How to approach child arrangement order disputes in school holidays
In the first instance, as family lawyers, we would always recommend that both parents come to an agreement between themselves, which satisfies both parties.
For example, in the Easter holidays, if one parent wants to take a child on holiday overseas for the entire two-week break, this would need to be agreed by the other parent.
It is important for the parent wanting to take the child overseas to be accommodating in these circumstances and perhaps offer the opportunity for the other parent to make up for lost time.
When discussing child arrangements for school holidays, meet in a neutral place over a coffee and have a direct conversation. Don’t try and make arrangements over the phone, via text message or social media. Be intentional about meeting face-to-face and be proactive, rather than reactive when discussing the situation.
If a direct meeting does not yield a satisfactory outcome for both parties, get in touch with the team at Holland Family Law. Our specialist legal advice will guide you through your child arrangement options during school holidays. Plus, we offer fixed fee packages, providing you with affordable support.
Should parents be unable to come to an agreement, then family mediation could be an option. Alternatively, a roundtable meeting between both parents and each party’s lawyer can be arranged.
If there’s no agreement at this stage, as a last resort, both parties can apply to the Family Court for a child arrangements order. Under these circumstances, it is mandatory for both parties to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting, unless there are exceptional circumstances that apply to the case.