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Child holiday arrangement letters

If you’re planning a family holiday this Easter, now is the time to sort out your child arrangements with your ex-partner.

However, making child arrangements for holidays with your ex-spouse or partner may not be the easiest of conversations. It is all too easy for emotions and old resentments to bubble over, especially where one parent wants to take children abroad.

 

Child arrangements for holidays abroad

If you do want to take your children abroad during the Easter holidays, you will need permission from your ex-spouse. As part of your shared parental responsibility, you must:

  • Tell your ex of your plan to take the children abroad
  • Make sure your ex formally agrees before you start booking!
  • Ensure you have the passport
  • Provide full contact details of where the child is going, staying and telephone numbers

If you take your children out of the country without their other parent’s permission, even for a holiday, this is legally a case of child abduction.

The same of course applies if you ex-spouse wants to take the children abroad. They must seek and obtain your permission, and you must agree to their request before the children travel.

 

Getting permission in writing

That’s why we alway recommend getting that permission in writing, and why we provide a child arrangement letter service. This formalises your discussions about arrangements, or sets out your proposals, in writing. Since the letter comes via us, it is seen as impartial, less emotive and easier to agree to than endless phone calls, emails or texts. Contact us for more details.

 

Child arrangement letters for ex-pat parents

If you are an ex-pat and live and/or work abroad, you still need your ex's permission for the children to come and spend some or all of the holidays with you. By putting that permission request and agreement in writing, you can save a lot of lengthy discussions at border controls if you are collecting the children in person. This is especially important if your children no longer use your surname.

 

Can I force my ex to let the children go abroad?

If your ex doesn't give their permission for you to take children overseas, you can apply for a Specific Issue Order. This is a court order that decides on any specific question that may arise concerning Parental Responsibility, in this case, taking the child/children abroad. The court will determine if the proposed trip abroad is in the child’s best interest.

A court is unlikely to rule against a week’s holiday in the sun or a visit to grandparents or relatives in a country that is a member of the Hague Convention. However, the court may decide that other countries are not considered safe, or decide if there is a risk of the children not being returned to the UK.

This type of Order can work in your favour if you feel uncomfortable with your ex-spouse taking your children out of the country but your ex is insistent. The court will always assess the application to ensure it is in the best interests of the children. If you ex takes children out of the country without your permission, or on breach of a Specific Issues Order, this is legally classed as child abduction.

 

Child arrangements for holidays at home

If your ex spouse has child access or regular contact with the children, you need to agree arrangements in advance to avoid a last minute rush. If relations have become strained, this can be difficult as the end of term looms on the horizon.

 

Child arrangement letters from LGFL

At LGFL, we can write and send a formal child arrangements letter. This clearly lays out any decisions already made or proposes a set of arrangements. A child arrangement letter significantly reduces the amount of direct contact required between you and your ex. All they need to do is reply in writing agreeing to the arrangements, and the job is done.

Many of our single parent clients find this method of agreeing child arrangements is efficient, impartial and ‘official’, resulting in less hassle and better arrangements for their children.

 

Timing is crucial

With the current uncertainty over Brexit, travel to the EU could well be disrupted, if not downright problematic, over the Easter holidays. Equally, the courts usually experience a rush of applications for Specific Issues Orders before every school holiday from divorced parents who have left arrangements to the last minute and then cannot agree.

Needless to say, we recommend making child arrangements as soon as possible. Contact us to discuss your child arrangements letter, which could be eggs-actly what you need to ensure everyone in the family has a relaxed and enjoyable Easter holiday 2019!

Children having tea with teddies

To divorce or not to divorce? LGFL Director takes a look at new evidence as to why divorce might be the best option.

For all the unhappy couples who decided in January that this was the month they would finally file for divorce, I know from professional experience there are many more who decide to stay together ‘for the sake of the children’.

However, recent evidence is mounting that children who live in a home where there are unresolved tensions between parents can be adversely affected by the resulting arguments, negativity and potential verbal and emotional abuse.

Timing is important

According to a study by University College London (UCL),

“Children who experience a family break-up in late childhood and early adolescence are more likely to have emotional and behavioural problems than those living with both parents.”

What made this study so interesting, however, was the importance of the timing of the divorce, in terms of how old the children were. Professor Emla Fitzsimons, co-author of the UCL study, noted that:

“Children whose parents broke up in late childhood and early adolescence, between the ages of 7 and 14 had, on average, a 16 per cent increase in emotional problems and an 8 per cent rise in conduct issues in the short-term.

Children whose parents separated earlier, between ages 3 and 7, were no more likely to experience mental health problems either in the short-term or later on, by age 14, than those living with both parents.”

She suggested that:

“One possible reason for this is that children are more sensitive to relationship dynamics at this age (7-14 years). Family break-ups may also be more disruptive to schooling and peer relationships at this stage of childhood.”

 

Younger children and separation

The inevitable conclusion is that if you have younger children and are considering separating due to irreconcilable differences with your spouse, divorce might actually be the better option than staying together because children are more adaptable when they are younger. They therefore get used to growing up with separated parents, and having two homes.

If you wish to talk through your options for divorce in complete confidence, call us for a one to one consultation. You can meet us at our highly discreet countryside offices in Swallowfield.

 

The impact of delaying divorce: a personal insight

In a remarkable article for The Telegraph, Nell Frizzel tells her story, of begging her parents to get divorced aged 9, and them finally announcing the split just three weeks before her A-levels exams. She is remarkably frank, describing how in her view it is:

“Better to have a disorienting break while you’re young, than to suffer years in the company of two people enacting a corrosive war of insults, screaming, lying, gaslighting, sulking, infidelity or violence, centimetres from where you’re trying to do your homework.”

And in support of this, an article in Psychology Today by Susan Pease Gadoua suggests that:

“Divorce does not harm kids, per se. There’s ample research out there that divorce isn’t the worst thing that parents can do to kids: Fighting terribly and subjecting them to your vitriolic hatred toward each other is the worst; staying married in such a state is actually worse for kids than if you actually got divorced.”

 

Not just the kids

The UCL study highlighted another important issue. Divorced lone mothers who became the home parent for older children were more likely to develop mental health problems than lone mothers who have divorced when the children were younger.

 

Putting the children first

It’s a phrase we hear a lot, how parents want to ‘put the children first’. At LGFL, we take a slightly different slant, in that we put the children at the heart of everything we do in a family law case, including divorce.

It’s an approach that integrates all the legal aspects with a pragmatic overview of future family life moving forward. For example, “Putting the children first” might cause a parent to fight tooth and nail to keep the family home, when actually they cannot afford it, nor require such a large house once separated from their spouse.

Putting the children at the heart of the divorce involves a practical look at the finances alongside other issues, and realising what is important for the children is proximity to friends, family, school, stability, days out and not (necessarily) the size of their bedroom. We also urge clients not to put themselves under constant financial pressure which again causes stress which can pass down to the children.

 

Get legal advice now

If you are considering divorce, expert legal advice can never be sought too early. As one half of a married couple, you’ll need to untangle many aspects of your life including day to day finances, property, investments, and pensions, and ensure that your divorce settlement is fair and fit for your future life.

Call us at LGFL for a personal, bespoke and highly discreet service that, as we’ve said before, puts your children at the heart of everything.

If you missed what we’ve been sharing this month, here’s a round up of our blogs and some of the news posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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If you missed what we’ve been sharing this month, here’s a round up of our blogs and some of the news posts on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Read More

If 2016 was the year you got divorced or separated from your partner, your first Christmas as a single parent with children is probably looming large in your thoughts.

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LGFL Director Anne Leiper takes a look at breaches in child arrangement orders, and what action you can take.

 

When parents separate, many obtain a child arrangement order from the courts.

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LGFL Ltd Partner Rita Gupta is a keen follower of celebrity family issues, as it brings public attention to many of the issues she deals with in her role as the firm’s child law specialist. Here’s her take on the year’s biggest child custody scuffle between a single mother and her remarried ex-husband over their teenage son.

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Christmas can be a stressful time for divorced or separated parents, especially when it comes to organising child contact (custody) over the festivities. The holidays will disrupt any normal routine, and with the added pressure for children to spend time with extended family as well as their parents, the result can be a very stressful time for all.

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Despite everyone’s best intentions, Christmas is inevitably a stressful time for some families, especially if the child care arrangements (custody) are divided between two parents. The interruption of normal routines and the added pressure of including extended family into different arrangements can pile on even more unwanted tension.

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