The complications surrounding children’s holidays when parents are separated

Recent media reports have shed light on some of the issues which may arise regarding children’s holidays – particularly in cases where parents are separated.

Experts have warned of an increase in bitter disputes between separated parents, which can often arise when one parent wishes to take their child abroad, but their ex-partner disagrees with the idea.

Kevin Double, Consultant and family law expert with Palmers Solicitors, says: “So-called ‘missing passport’ disputes can often end up before the Courts if it has not been previously agreed between the parties who should hold a child’s passport.”

Recent stories highlighted by the press have illustrated that even if an agreement is set in place regarding which parent will hold a passport, some hostile parents may refuse to hand over a passport – or allege that it has been lost or stolen. Complex and bitter disputes are likely to follow.

Kevin says: “Such disagreements can be very stressful – and ultimately upsetting for the child involved, who may be disappointed by crushed dreams of a trip to Disney World.”

But not all of these disagreements boil down to hostile parents, Kevin says.

“In some cases, a proposed holiday may legitimately be inappropriate for the child. For example, a parent may wish to take the child abroad during term-time – which could lead to educational and financial losses, or the holiday proposed could be seen to put the child at risk in some way, perhaps if they suffer from certain medical complications. In these instances, the other parent’s opposition to the holiday may be entirely appropriate,” he says.

“We would strongly advise that separated parents agree who will hold a child’s passport early on, in order to minimise disputes later down the line.

“Parents planning or opposing a trip should also think very carefully about what is best for the child’s overall wellbeing,” he adds.

“If a dispute does arise, however, and parents find themselves seeking the Courts’ assistance, this can be dealt with on an urgent basis if the need arises.”

Palmers Solicitors advise on urgent applications to the Court as described above, and all other aspects of family law. For more information, please contact Kevin Double at our South Woodham Ferrers team at enquiries@palmerslaw.co.uk