Separated parents’ holiday plans and Covid-19

With Coronavirus restrictions changing regularly as October half term beckons, there are a few things which separated parents will need to consider when making holiday plans, particularly for those looking to go abroad.

At the forefront of a lot of our minds at the moment is risk. People have different thresholds to risk, particularly when it comes to Covid-19, with some more at risk of serious illness than others.

With that in mind, it’s crucial that separated parents discuss and consider this when making holiday arrangements for children– holiday plans may well need to be adapted as guidance changes.

It’s important that parents do not assume that just because there is an existing order for the children during the school holidays, that it resolves matters.

Do arrangements take into account which tier or quarantine rules being implemented, either by the UK Government or by the area or country they are travelling to? What would be the impact, for example, if the child has to quarantine upon their arrival back in the UK – particularly when it comes to a return to school or any subsequent holiday plans with the other parent?

Parents themselves will also need to consider each other – there could be a huge impact on work commitments if a parent has to quarantine upon arrival back in the UK, as well as on the normal pattern of contact.

Linking back to risk thresholds, individuals who are shielding will also need to be taken into account. There could be increased risk if a parent or child is returning to a household that would need to be shielded following a summer break.

And, along with guidance which is regularly being updated at home and by Governments all over the world, parents will need to consider travel advice – both at time of booking and at time of departure – issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, along with whether the insurance policy is sufficient to cover any medical treatment that may become necessary while away.

Generally, separated parents are being encouraged to be sensible and flexible when it comes to holiday arrangements, however there may be times when an impasse may arise between parties. In this instance, an application can be made for either Specific Issue or Prohibited Steps Orders.

Do you really want to have the court involved in these discussions? Communication is the key.  If communication is difficult then specialist family lawyers can assist and should always firstly consider to possibility of Mediation or the Collaborative Law process as a tool to resolve matters quickly and efficiently for the benefit of all involved, particularly the children themselves.

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