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As the school year draws to a close and the summer holidays get ever closer, some separated parents may be worrying about how they are going to manage child contact arrangements over the 6-week break.

During term time, it is generally much easier for parents to adhere to child arrangements already agreed. However, the summer holidays can prove to be more difficult, not least because of the length of time the children are away from school. As well as their children, many parents have other commitments to balance including work or the care of elderly relatives. Childcare might seem to be the most obvious option, however, a recent report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies has claimed that Britain is one of the most expensive countries in the developed world for childcare services, meaning this is not always a straightforward or viable option.

As such, it might be that one parent may need the other to contribute more than usual during the summer holidays and so there could be a need for greater flexibility of any agreement already in place. This is of particular importance when it comes to teenagers.

The standard legal test when determining contact arrangements for younger children is to consider what is in the child’s best interests. But, as children get older and particularly when they enter their teenage years, the legal test shifts slightly to consider the wishes and feelings of that child. After all, many teenagers have their own social lives and out-of-school activities meaning scheduling time to see them is not always straightforward. It is in these circumstances where parents have to be willing to show flexibility.

Whilst some parents will find it simple to arrange child contact for the summer, the conversations can be difficult for others. It is important to plan in advance so that the child feels settled and any older children are given plenty of time to consider activities and time with their friends to help prevent any disputes arising between parents.

If you require any assistance in resolving your child arrangement disputes for the summer holidays, you can contact our specialist family lawyers and mediators by calling 0113 322 922 or emailing