Most separated parents will have a parenting arrangement in
place week-to-week, whether it be on a week about basis or an alternating
These arrangements can become difficult during the Easter
school holiday period, when parents start making plans for the long weekend and
travel away from home.
Negotiating your parenting arrangement with your co-parent
can be tough when there are competing schedules and travel plans.
If you celebrate Easter for its religious connotations, this
can add extra complexity when making arrangements for the Easter long weekend.
There are a few things that parents can do in advance to
make the upcoming school holidays that little bit easier…
1. Make a plan with your co-parent
Prospectively discussing with
your co-parent your ideas about how the children could spend school holiday
periods before anything is booked and
plans are set in stone is more likely to result in agreement and minimise
If you have a parenting
arrangement in place that doesn’t provide for pupil free days and mid-week
public holidays, discuss with your co-parent who will be spending those days
with the children before the day is upon you.
Co-parents should try to agree
Where the children will be spending the
holidays, if not at home;
How, when and where changeovers will occur;
Time spent with extended family members; and
Any extra-curricular activities, social or
religious events the children will be attending.
2. Decide how the children will spend Easter Sunday
Many people celebrate Easter
Sunday by attending a church service during the day. For others, Easter Sunday
involves an Easter egg hunt and watching the joy it brings to the searching
A common arrangement we often see
for the special occasion of Easter is that one parent will spend Easter Sunday
(and/or the days leading up to Easter) with the children one year and the other
parent will spend Easter Sunday with the children the following year. Some
parents have an arrangement whereby the first half of the school holidays is
spent with one parent and the second half with the other, regardless of any
special occasions that may fall within that time.
Alternatively, the children may
wake up with one parent on Easter Sunday and celebrate the morning with that
parent before spending the afternoon and/or evening with the other parent.
What works for one family may not
work for another.
3. Communicate with your co-parent
School holidays can be a
difficult time for children in separated families so it’s more important than
ever that parents are able to communicate in a child focussed manner about what
is in the best interests of the children. Communication does not need to be
face-to-face. It is often preferable that parents discuss their parenting
arrangement in writing (via email or text) as parents can refer to the
conversation to cross-check plans and eliminate confusion.
There are a range of fantastic co-parenting apps parents may use, such as 2Houses (Android, Apple), FamCal (Android, Apple) and Our Family Wizard (Android, Apple), that create a platform for parents to co-ordinate schedules, send requests to vary arrangements and communicate about all things in relation to the children.
4. The best interests of the children
Above all else, consider how the
children would like to spend the holidays and whether it’s in their best
interests. Do not ask the children directly if they are of a young age. Where
possible, try to ensure the children can see both sides of the family such as
grandparents, uncles and aunts, and cousins.
5. If in doubt, take action early
If there are no Court Orders in place and parents simply cannot agree on
how the children will spend the school holidays, or if one parent is
withholding the children from the other, you need to act quickly. In most
situations, parties are required to attend mediation to attempt to resolve
their dispute before going to Court. You should contact your lawyer to discuss
pre-action procedures and the best course of action.
If you would like some advice specific to your circumstances, or would like further information, please contact the Family Law team at Turnbull Hill Lawyers on 1800 994 279 or visit our contact us page.