With the UK weather over the last few weeks most of us have started to think of holidays and New Year ski trips to try to find somewhere with a decent amount of snow in a country that doesn’t grind to a stop when there is a snow flurry.

If you are a parent and you’re separated from your partner or spouse it can be complicated to try to book a last minute break with the children, or even without them if your holiday means that you will miss spending time with them and need to sort out changes to the parenting schedule to accommodate your holiday.

When it comes to ski trips many parents are wary of letting their children loose on the slopes. Attitudes towards risk vary between parents and are influenced by society, who would have thought 20 years ago that Lyme Park would close for the day because of the risk assessment of threatened snow?

If parents are living together it is a lot easier to negotiate on the type of family holiday that both parents can enjoy without worrying about the safety of their children. When you are separated it is often the case that however hard you are working to co parent children that the communication isn’t as good as it should be. That can mean that mention of a ski trip makes the other parent think of slopes like Everest or talk of a canal barge holiday makes them envision a trip down the Nile.

That can make it very hard for separated parents to agree on holidays and particularly action holidays, such as ski trips. Most parents assume that they can take their child where they want, including abroad on holiday. That’s not necessarily right. If a parent has a Court order saying that a child lives with them then they can take their child abroad on holiday for up to 4 weeks without first needing to get the other parent’s agreement. Most parents don’t have that type of Court order so if they want to take a trip abroad with the children they will need the other parent’s agreement or a Court order giving permission to take the children abroad for the particular holiday. These types of orders can take a bit of time to obtain so it is as well to avoid last minute bookings unless you have your ex–partner’s written agreement to the children going abroad. The written agreement doesn’t have to be anything too formal but it is as well to get it confirmed, even if it is just by email in case there is a change of mind.

Whether you are trying to get the other parent’s agreement or a Court order you need the same sort of information , such as resort and flight details , who is going with you and the type of accommodation and what is planned , such as the children’s’ enrolment in ski school. That is not overkill but probably the sort of information that would put your mind at ease if you were concerned about your ex taking the children abroad with a new partner and his or her family. In the vast majority of families an initial flat ‘no’ to a holiday abroad can be converted to a ‘yes’ without the need for a Court order with a bit more information and discussion. If all else fails there is the option of a Court application to secure that ski break.

For advice about any aspect of children law or advice about taking children on holiday abroad please give me a call on +44 (0) 1477 464020 or email me at louise@evolvefamilylaw.co.uk