How do you deal with school holidays as a separated parent?

5 April 2023

With Easter approaching in early April and half-term and the summer holidays following not too far behind, how do you address arrangements for your children in the school holidays as a separated parent.  This is something we are often asked to assist with, and so here are our top tips for a smooth holiday period.

Plan ahead

Discuss holiday plans with your ex-partner well in advance to avoid any last-minute conflicts.  This will allow time for you both to consider the other’s proposal and try to reach an agreement.

If you aren’t able to reach an agreement, you might need to consider a court application, but this can take quite some time so if this is necessary, you would need to do it sooner rather than later.

Follow the court order

If you have a court order in place, make sure you follow it unless you have agreed a variation with your ex. Court orders will often set out arrangements for holiday periods, including Easter, and so you should follow those provisions unless you are able to agree with your ex to change them.

If you need to change the arrangements and aren’t able to agree, you might need to make an application back to the court for a variation, but you should take legal advice on this as sometimes this might not be appropriate. The starting point should be that you stick to the court order unless you can agree an alternative arrangement, as changing the arrangements unilaterally could put you at risk of court proceedings for breach of the order.

Be flexible

If possible, be open to compromise and be flexible when planning holidays. It’s important to put your child’s needs first, so try to come up with a schedule that works for everyone and be open to considering your ex’s point of view. 

Communicate effectively

Keep communication channels open with your ex-partner during the holidays. Use email, WhatsApp or other written communication methods where possible, as these are easier to track in case of any disputes.  You might also consider a family contact app such as Our Family Wizard or AppClose.

Keep things civil

Holidays can be tough for children of separated parents as they might witness or sense disputes between them. Try to make things as easy as possible for your child by remaining civil with the other parent if at all possible.  Remember, children are good at sensing tension.

Seek professional support if required

If you find it difficult to deal with holidays as a separated parent, seek help from a therapist or support group. They can provide advice and guidance on how to cope with the challenges of separation.  And contact a lawyer if you need legal support to deal with agreeing arrangements, or even making a court application if necessary.

For more information or to discuss any family law query, contact:

Paula Tanner

RedKite Law Swansea

01792 952971 /


The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.