With the weather we have had over the last few weeks, you may be forgiven for thinking the British summer is still some way off. 

However, the school holidays will be upon us before we know it and, for separated parents attempting to sort out childcare arrangements, this can often mean extra challenges and added stress. 

While there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution that can help parents ensure the summer break passes peacefully for everyone involved, there are several steps all separated parents can follow to ensure any disruption and disagreement is kept to a minimum. 

How do you agree children’s holiday arrangements with an ex-partner? 

The short answer to this question can be: “With difficulty.” Agreeing a schedule with an ex-partner for summer holiday contact with your children is not easy.  

Without a court order setting out exactly what should happen when, separated partners usually need to make their own arrangements for contact with their children over the summer holidays, which can be easier said than done. 

Reaching an agreement is further complicated by the fact court-imposed child arrangement orders are made on a case-by-case basis that depend on the best interests of each child involved, meaning there is no real precedent or specific guidelines for separated parents to follow when attempting to agree on holiday contact to fit their own circumstances. 

Communication between ex-partners is often strained and, with other factors such as work commitments, existing holiday plans and practical and financial constraints to be considered, it can be hard to agree on plans that suit everyone. 

If initial discussions fail, this added frustration can make the situation quickly feel overwhelming, increasing stress levels and further reducing the likelihood of talks being productive. 

However, all is not lost. Here, our Child Care Law specialists give their top tips for separated parents looking to agree child contact details over the school summer holidays.    

  1. Plan ahead. 

Many schools release term dates around 12 months in advance, giving you have plenty of warning as to when the holidays are. 

Thinking ahead and trying to reach an agreement as soon as the holiday dates are released can be extremely beneficial. Having a lengthy lead-in time enables you to plan in advance and gives you ample opportunity to discuss arrangements with your ex-partner. 

Knowing where everyone stands well ahead of time and being aware of how contact will work over the holidays means everyone knows what’s happening and will help to avoid any last-minute panic. 

  1. Communicate. 

Communication between ex-partners can be strained and, even in the most amicable of break-ups, it can be hard to have open and honest conversations with an ex.  

However, communicating in a positive way goes a long way towards reducing conflict in conversations and will greatly increase the chances of reaching an agreement with your partner over arrangements for your child. 

Discussions about children can be emotive. Remaining calm and focusing on the practical arrangements can help lead to a positive outcome. 

  1. Put your children first. 

Don’t lose sight of the fact that your children come first. The happiness and safety of your children comes before anything else, and their wellbeing should be paramount to all discussions regarding contact arrangements. 

Remembering that you both have your children’s best interests at heart can help get things in perspective and focus conversations if they are in danger of going off track. 

  1. Get help if you need it. 

If discussions with your ex-partner hit a brick wall, remember you are not alone.  

Many services exist that offer support to separated families and there are numerous options to explore, all designed to help separated parents work together in the best interests of their children. 

Our head of family law in Portsmouth, Sandra Phillips, has been accredited with the Help and Support for Separated Families (HSSF) mark, part of the government’s programme to better integrate existing support services to help separated families collaborate in the best interests of their children. 

Mediation plays a key role in family disputes and can greatly assist families looking to agree various arrangements, including holiday plans for their children.  

Family mediators specialise in promoting a collaborative approach to resolving family issues and are specially trained to help separated couples reach an agreement over child arrangements.  

An experienced neutral third party can help parents see the other partner’s point of view without taking sides. 

To find out more about the benefits of mediation in family disputes, click here to read a recent article by Adrian Silk, head of our family law practice in Waterlooville. 

If you and your ex-partner are struggling to agree on holiday arrangements for your children, Larcomes’ specialist child law solicitors in Portsmouth and Waterlooville can help. 

All our family solicitors are committed to the Resolution Code of Practice, which promotes an approach to family law that is sensitive, constructive, cost-effective and will most likely result in an agreement. 

To speak to one of our family law solicitors with experience in child arrangements, call Larcomes on 023 9244 8100 or make an online enquiry

  1. Write it down. 

Once you have agreed on holiday arrangements for your children with your ex-partner, you should write down what you have decided. 

This way, everyone knows where they stand, and you can refer back to the agreement if there is any confusion as to who is doing what. 

Child Care Law Solicitors Portsmouth 

Childcare law issues are highly emotional. The happiness, safety and welfare of children is paramount and should be the central consideration when dealing with matters involving children. 

At Larcomes, our Child Law team is headed up by solicitor, Mark Tooley, who approaches each case with a level of understanding only achievable by specialising in child law.  

Mark is a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel, recognising his experience and expertise in representing children, and handles any dispute with tact and sensitivity.  

Our Child Law specialists offer legal advice and services relating to a wide range of childcare law and family matters, including: 

  • Contact disputes. 
  • Disputes relating to where a child should live. 
  • Applications by the Local Authority for care, supervision orders, adoption, or special guardianship. 
  • Disputes relating to changing a child’s name. 

If you have an issue that you need to discuss with one of our nationally recognised childcare lawyers, contact our childcare department, who will be happy to take the time to discuss your case.  

We will listen carefully to your situation and advise on the most appropriate steps to take to resolve your issue with the minimal amount of stress and disruption.  

To speak to one of our specialist childcare law team today, call 023 9244 8100 or make an online enquiry

Please note that this article is not intended as legal or professional advice. It is for general guidance only, and updates to the law may have changed since it was published.