Whilst I am sure every child is excited for their forthcoming summer break, filled with the prospects of activities, sunshine, late nights and lack of homework….for many parents the feeling is more one of apprehension and, sometimes, dread as to how they are going to arrange child care, juggle their time with the children and time the children spend with their other parent as well as family; and even how and whether the children are going to travel abroad.
In terms of the legal stumbling blocks, I focus this article on a couple of potential issues:
- Travelling abroad with children, without the other parent or children travelling with family members or friends who do not have the same surname as them.
Whilst it is of course a huge relief for some that procedures are put in place at airports so as to restrict some adults travelling with children, this can cause difficulties in simple cases where children are travelling with their grandparents, for example, who may not have the same surname or, in respect of whom, it might seem there is no guaranteed consent given by the parents who hold parental responsibility for the children.
As such, it would be prudent to travel with a consent form, detailing all of the travel plans, including with whom the children are travelling which is formally drafted and signed by the parents, or those holders of parental responsibility, in front of a witness. We can prepare these at little cost.
Hurdle number 1 – overcome!
- When parents are separated it is often difficult to arrange the time each parent spends with the children during the holidays, if this has not been set out in any previous agreement or court order, and differs from the norm imposed by term time contact timetables.
This can of course be overcome by the parents discussing arrangements and setting them out in writing for clarity purposes, but if they need assistance there is the option of mediation or, indeed, approaching a solicitor to formalise the arrangements either by drafting a contact agreement which can be referred back to in times of uncertainty or, if the situation is rather more contentious, then if agreement can be reached it can be formalised in a stronger binding document called a consent order, filed and sealed by the court.
Such agreements and orders can detail holiday time, term time and special dates such as the children’s birthdays, father’s day, mother’s day, Christmas and Easter. For most parents, their utmost priority is to keep stress and cost to a minimum for the sake of their children as well as themselves. Establishing a timetable of arrangements can be an invaluable tool, for those who find it more difficult to be flexible and to communicate informally, to alleviate both current and future upset.
My ultimate aim is to always reach resolution for the sake of the children involved, in as swift and non-contentious manner as possible.
Should you require assistance with this then please do not hesitate to contact me on 0207 034 4200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.