The school summer holidays are upon us, but separated parents may be expecting difficulties.

Differences around working patterns and caution regarding coronavirus are just two such difficulties separated parents may be dealing with.

Our top tips

Start planning early - Both parents should know the term times and holidays and work together to make plans for these. Allow time to speak to specialists if disagreements arise.

Write it down - This avoids ambiguity and may be helpful to outline arrangements and identify gaps.

Set out your expectations - Make your plans known so the other parent can raise any concerns

Be organised - If you’re taking children abroad, ensure you have everything necessary in plenty of time, including passports and medical insurance.

The child’s best interests - This should be at the heart of parental decision making. Whilst parents may have differing views on what we should and should not be doing at the moment, the priority should be the child’s welfare. This extends beyond any risk to the child’s physical health.

Existing child arrangements

Parents should also consider any existing child arrangements when discussing holiday arrangements. If these need to be amended, this must be mutually agreed by the parents. Any changes should be made in the child’s best interests. Any permanent proposed alterations to an Order should be set out in a Consent Order signed by both parents and filed with the court.

What if parents cannot agree?

Unless there is a Court Order stating otherwise, both parents should input equally to decisions regarding child arrangements. If parents cannot agree on child arrangements, they should consider discussing the issues with a family practitioner to help reach an agreement. Parties are encouraged, where possible, to avoid court for settling disputes as this can be costly, timely and damage relationships further.