I did not see my children over the holiday period, what do I do?

Family Law 6 February 2019

Holiday periods should be a time to relax, have fun and enjoy a break. However, for separated families the holiday period can be stressful. Tensions can run high if discussions about arrangements for the time children spend with each parent do not result in agreement being reached. If agreement is not reached, children may not spend time with the parent they do not live with.  This only leads to greater frustration and tensions in the future when arrangements are discussed

Issues during holiday periods often arise when parents do not have a written agreement in place to provide for the time the children spend with each parent.  It is highly recommended that if you do not have a written agreement in place for the time the children spend with both parents, you look to put one in place as soon as possible. A written agreement is the most effective way to avoid confrontation during the holiday periods. It is not unusual for parents to resolve parenting arrangements between them for the day to day care of their children but do not turn their minds to special occasions including birthdays, Christmas, New Year, school holidays and Easter.

In the event you do not have a written agreement in place for the children’s care during these periods you should seek legal advice and look to implement a written agreement to avoid unnecessary conflict in the future.

Not only does a written agreement provide for stability, certainty and routine for your children but it allows you to make arrangements in advance.  You may for example agree to share special occasions and implement times for when the children should be with each parent on the special occasions. However, it may be more appropriate the children spend the occasion with one parent alternating each year.  In the event an agreement has been reached you should document the agreement appropriately.

For advice as to which approach is suitable for your circumstances and how to document your agreement you should contact one of our family lawyers.

I have a parenting arrangement with the other parent but my children did not spend time with me over the holidays. What do I do?

Unfortunately, on some occasions children may be withheld from one parent by the other parent.  If your children were withheld or you have withheld the children from the other parent you should seek legal advice urgently.  In either scenario it may be necessary to make an urgent Court application and seek appropriate arrangements for the care of your children moving forward.

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If you require any further advice or any further information on the matters discussed in this article please contact our Family Law team.

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