The school holidays are now upon us, and the topic of how much time a child spends with each of their parents can often be a bone of contention between separated parents. Whilst in ,many cases arrangements can be reached by agreement, there are often cases where this is not possible for different reasons…
We frequently get asked – similar questions on this subject at this time of year so here is a Q&A on the options available to parents when they are unable reach an amicable solution between themselves.
If we cannot reach an agreement can the Court determine the arrangements for our children over the holidays?
If parents are unable to agree the arrangements by agreement either parent can make an application to the Court for what is known as a Child Arrangements Order.
In this instance the Court will determine with whom a child should live or spend time with or can determine an arrangement whereby a child spends a similar amount of time with each parent. The Order can define the amount of time a child spends with each parent.
An application for a Child Arrangement Order is also an option where a parent is unable to spend time with their child because the other parent is preventing them from doing so.
What happens if I want to take my child on holiday abroad?
If a Child Arrangements Order is already in place which defines, the amount of time you spend with your child, it is a criminal offence to take your child out of the UK on holiday without first obtaining consent from every person who has parental responsibility (usually the other parent). You would need to seek that consent every time you wish to take your child on a holiday abroad.
If the Child Arrangements Order names you as the parent with whom your child should live,then you can take your child out of the UK for a period of less than one month without consent. Therefore, you can take your child abroad as many times as you want in a year as long as each individual trip does not last more than one month. Any holidays longer than a month will require written consent from anyone else with parental responsibility or permission from the court.
If a Child Arrangements Order is not in place you should still seek agreement from every person who holds parental responsibility for your child (usually the other parent), however the other parent may try to prevent this from happening.
How can I prevent my child being taken abroad when I don’t want them to go?
You can apply to the Court for a Prohibited Steps Order which stops a parent who has parental responsibility from doing something without permission from the Court.
This would be applicable if you wanted to prevent the other parent from taking your child out of the country on holiday. whether it is necessary to make a Prohibited Steps Order.
What is there is one issue that we cannot agree about?
You can also apply for a Specific Issue Order to deal with the issue of a holiday abroad for a specified period of time. As the name suggests, this type of Order will decide upon a specific issue that has arisen, or may arise which cannot be resolved between parents
If the other parent/person with parental responsibility is refusing to give consent to take your child on holiday, you can make an application to the court for a Specific Issue Order and the Court will make any Order that it considers in the best interests if your child such as whether you can take your child on holiday or not.
Get in touch
If you are struggling agree arrangements to spend time with your child or children during the summer holidays or want to take them on holiday abroad but are being prevented from doing so, get in touch with our family law team for further advice.