For separated families, Christmas and summer holidays present challenges when planning and negotiating how the children will divide their time
With the upcoming festive season and school holidays, you may be thinking about holidays and travel with your children. Because the coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to cancel overseas travel plans, interstate travel is likely to increase this summer. If you and your former partner have children, your travel plans will require extra planning and consultation.
Making parenting arrangements for Intestate travel in the summer holidays
If you are bound by a court order, you need to obey any restrictions or requirements if you wish to travel with a child. For example, some court orders require you to give at least 28 days’ notice of any intended travel to the other parent.
You may also need to provide travel details and to seek the other parent’s consent before you travel. Details of travel may include:
- Airline bookings
- Accommodation contact details
- Travel dates
You also need to strictly obey any travel time frames set out in the orders. If you don’t follow the orders, the court may decide that you have breached the orders.
If you are not bound by a court order, you and the other parent may have made a parenting plan, which may include travel.
A parenting plan isn’t enforceable. However, it serves as a written intention of both parties, and a court can consider it when making any orders. You should act in good faith and follow the terms of the parenting plan unless it is not practical nor in the children’s best interests for you to do so.
No court order or parenting plan
If there is no court order, parenting plan or written agreement which deals with travel, you should consult the other parent about your interstate travel plans with your child.
Try to make sure the other parent has no objections to the intended travel, and that is does not affect the children’s time with the other parent and their family over the summer holidays.
If the intended trip reduces the children’s time with the other parent, you could consider offering make-up time, as well as proposing how and when the children will communicate with the other parent when the child is away.
If you’d prefer a more formal arrangement in the future to ensure travel arrangements are settled, consider making a court application for parenting orders. You could also consider mediation to help you both agree on a parenting plan for future arrangements. It may not be appropriate in some circumstances, so it’s worth seeking legal advice before committing to mediation.
If you find it difficult to communicate and negotiate with the other parent, we can help you negotiate summer holiday arrangements.
Parenting arrangements and overseas travel in the summer holidays
When overseas travel resumes, you may wish to take your children overseas to visit family, or to explore other parts of the world. It’s critical to follow any court orders which deal with overseas travel. If you don’t have the other parent’s permission to take your children overseas, you may be in breach of the order. This could result in serious penalties.
If the other parent doesn’t permit you to take your child overseas, you will need to apply to the court for permission.
If you’re concerned that the other parent may take your child out of Australia without your permission, contact us immediately. If necessary, we can apply for court orders on your behalf, for example:
- Preventing a passport being issued for a child
- Requiring a person to deliver a passport for a child (or an accompanying adult) to the court
- Preventing a child from leaving Australia
Time is crucial. If you have concerns, don’t delay in contacting us for help.
Summing up parenting arrangements for summer holidays
- You must strictly follow any court order for travel with children. You should comply with all notice periods, and provide the other party will all details of the proposed travel, as required under the court order
- If there is no court order, you should seek the other parent’s permission to travel with the children. Provide specific details about dates and proposed booking details
- If your proposed travel arrangements affect the children’s time with the other party, consider offering make-up time. Also, consider how the children can communicate with the other parent while away
- If an agreement cannot be reached, consider mediation, or ask for our legal help to negotiate with the other parent on your behalf
Making parenting arrangements for the Christmas and summer holidays may present a few challenges. However, with planning, organisation and good communication, it’s possible to have a memorable and happy holiday with your children. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you make parenting arrangements for the summer holidays.
DISCLAIMER: We accept no responsibility for any action taken after reading this article. It is intended as a guide only and is not a substitute for the expert legal advice you can receive from marshalls+dent+wilmoth and other relevant experts.