Easter holiday: Father’s rights
Easter is a beloved holiday and is a chance for families and loved ones to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company. Children love the traditions associated with Easter egg hunting and, of course, parents enjoy seeing their children happily involved in holiday activities. However, if you have been separated from your child’s other parent, it may be a bit harder to figure out how to do this best so that both you and your children can make happy memories with each other.
Naturally as a father, you would probably like nothing more than to spend all your time with your children but it’s important to put your child’s needs and feelings above yours and try to find a good balance on how to approach shared parental responsibility with someone you no longer are in a relationship with.
How to split Easter holidays between divorced or separated parents
Easter comes with a generous school break of about two weeks, and it is natural that a lot of parents will look forward to doing something special during this time, perhaps even travel to a holiday destination. There is no right answer, nor a set formula on how to share an Easter holiday. Each family is different, with their own traditions and ways of spending the holidays and different things of importance.
If you have a child arrangement order in place, this should tell you already how the holidays are split. If you do not have such an order in place, or it’s silent on the Easter holiday or you would like to depart from it, the best place to start is to try to agree with the other parent.
The approach is entirely dependent on your wishes and lifestyle as a family. Whatever your approach, it would be advisable to start thinking and discussing with the other parent sooner rather than later, as your children are likely to appreciate knowing and having clarity in advance.
It may be best to start with what historically you have done and work from there, for example, some families place more importance on good Friday and Easter day, whether it’s due to religious reasons or simply family traditions, while others do not care much for the specific days and are just eager to use the bank holiday and school holiday period to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and enjoy some time with the family. It can also be that you and the child’s other parent have different preferences, which can help with splitting the holiday in such a manner that everyone feels their needs have been acknowledged and met. Of course, such arrangements can also be dependable on how close you live to each other. If there are great distances to travel or perhaps even international travel is involved, then it might be best to agree to split the holiday in such a way that the child spends a period of time with one parent and then a period with another, rather than agree to perhaps just take the child out for some activities during the day and then return the child to the mother.
As a father you are, of course, entitled to have contact with your child, including during holidays, but the interest of the child is always going to be paramount, therefore, you should be prepared to explain to the other parent, in a calm and clear manner, what you have planned for the holidays. Having an itinerary can be very useful for such situations.
Can I have my child overnight for Easter?
If you are not the resident parent for the child, you need to either have a child arrangement order in place that sets out how and when the child can have an overnight stay with you, or you can agree with the resident parent such arrangement. If you have an order that allows you overnight contact for your preferred period, you need to ensure that you keep to that order’s requirements. For instance, if you are going to have the child for a longer period than the order stipulated, you should agree this in writing with theother parent beforehand, as otherwise it might be considered as a parental child abduction, if you fail to return the child on time.
If you do not have a formal agreement, but would like to spend the Easter holidays with your child, it may be best to approach them with the suggestion well in advance to give yourselves time to discuss it and give them the time to think about it and hopefully agree.
Can I take my child abroad for Easter?
As a father, you have equal rights to that of a mother, this includes taking your child on holidays abroad. However, how and when you can take your child abroad will depend on what kind of arrangement you have with the other parent of the child. If you are the resident parent, you normally will be allowed to take the child abroad for up to a month, without the other’s parent’s agreement, unless otherwise stipulated by the Order.
If you are not the resident parent, your right to take the child abroad for a holiday will depend on the contact order or the agreement with the other parent. If you are not sure about your right as a father to take your child abroad for Easter or any other holiday, contact our team of experienced father’s rights lawyers, who can clarify this aspect for you based on your particular circumstances.
Mother denies contact over Easter, what should I do?
Your rights will depend on the child arrangements made at the time of your divorce or separation.
If there are already child arrangements set out in a court order, which entitle you as the father to have regular contact e.g. 2-3 times a week, the mother must abide to that. This would not change in the period of Easter, unless special arrangements are made for this holiday. But if there are no such arrangements or you only have an informal arrangement in place the only option, other than talking directly with the mother, would be to apply to the court to have contact over Easter.
Mother refuses the child to have contact over Easter with my new partner
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon, that the mother of the child would use an existence of a new partner as an excuse to frustrate contact with your child. Having contact with your child is a father’s right, however, as previously mentioned, the child’s best interest and the welfare should come first. Therefore, if your child’s mother raises concerns about your new partner, you should listen to them carefully and try to consider them as impartially as possible. If you are sure that there are no real concerns, then in first instance, you should try to reach an understanding with the mother of your child. If this is not possible, you have a number of other ways to enforce contact. What you should do, will depend on whether there already is a child contact order in place allowing you contact or not.
In any event trying to resolve things amicably is always the best, but if you can see that the other parent is refusing honest dialogue, it might be the case that you need to seek an Order to enforce your rights as a father, or instruct a solicitor to reach out to your partner on your behalf to see if matters can be resolved outside of court proceedings
Our father’s rights solicitors have many years of experience in defending fathers and their rights to have strong relationships with their children. If you are facing issues in respect of contact with your child, contact our family team today.