Negotiation Between Separated Parents Over School Holidays

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As we approach the winter school holidays, some separated parents find themselves in conflict about what arrangements should be in place for their children over the holidays. Here, Dobinson Davey Clifford Simpson addresses some common questions.

What does the law say?

In most circumstances, the Family Law Act recognises the importance of both parents having meaningful involvement in the lives of their children. Spending time together over school holidays is an important part of this. If an application is made to the Court about holiday time, the Court aims to make a decision that is in the children’s best interests after considering a range of factors for each child including proposed care arrangements and the nature of the relationship between the child and each parent.

What are my options?

You can avoid making an application to the Court if you are able to agree with your former partner about holiday arrangements for your children. There are a wide range of possibilities which can meet the needs of your children and both parents. Organisations such as Relationships Australia and the Family Relationships Centre provide mediation services to help parents reach agreement. It is a good idea to obtain legal advice about your rights and obligations under the Family Law Act.

What if we can’t agree?

Lawyers can assist not only by advising their client but also by negotiating with the other parent and their lawyer to reach a suitable outcome. Lawyers can also assist with formalising any agreement reached. If you still can’t agree, it may be necessary to make an application for a Court order but you should obtain legal advice as there may be timing issues and requirements you need to be aware of.