With the summer holidays rapidly approaching, mothers and fathers, guardians and grandparents will be thinking about the arrangements that will take place concerning the children having contact with the other party. Particularly if there has been a relationship breakdown in the past.
It is vitally important to try and reach an agreement with the resident parent. This should preferably be done several months before the holiday period. Failure to do this can lead to a situation where there is no agreement in parties seeking legal advice at the last minute. The Courts are very reluctant to get involved in holiday contact at the last minute unless there is an urgent requirement to do so. An urgent requirement would be in relation to whether the children are at risk of harm.
If you are having difficulty at this stage then the advice is that you need to come and see us. We can put together a letter or make an urgent referral to mediation to try and sort the matter out. A mediator is an independent person who will assist the parties to try and reach an agreement. Alternatively, solicitors’ correspondence is a useful mechanism for doing so.
As with all these things, the key is to plan ahead. Try and keep communication civil with the other party. It is important to write down what has been agreed because if there is ever a dispute in the future then this will act as evidence which can be used before a Court. We would suggest a Parenting Agreement which would set out the parties intentions in relation to: –
- Direct and indirect contact (including holiday contact); and
- Living arrangements; and
- Schooling; and
- Medical treatment.
Although at the time of writing it is too late to take an agreement to Court that is not urgent, we can arrange a contact agreement that is binding. Julian McCarthy and Nicola Haines have significant experience in dealing with issues surrounding contact and disputes arising out of holidays. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further advice.