The Easter Period

 

The Easter period

Courtney Mullen

Head of Family Law – Canberra

 

The Easter long weekend can be a difficult time for separated parents, as Easter doesn’t always fall within the Term school holiday period and isn’t easy to predict when planning ahead. It is not unusual for parents to assume the Easter weekend falls within the school term, and have already reached a long-term agreement to have the children alternating between them for the first week of the school holiday period.
 
This year – the Easter long weekend falls within the school holiday period for most schools across Australia. Phew!
 
You might not be in the clear though; the changes to school term time due to coronavirus may cause further challenges for your otherwise predictable parenting orders or parenting plans. If you don’t have a plan for the upcoming school holiday period, including the Easter weekend, then here are some tips for negotiating these arrangements with your co-parent:

  1. Start communicating about arrangements for the holidays now. Don’t leave it or put it off.
     
  2. Think of what’s important to you, and consider what your co-parent might want, before asking for your preferred arrangement (as you might be able to suggest a trade-off for them). 
     
  3. Consider the context of your proposed arrangement, including:
    1. What are your family’s plan, and what are theirs?
    2. Have your families celebrated Easter in previous years, and if so, how?
    3. Who had the children for Easter last year, or for other special occasions recently?
    4. Can you split Easter Sunday?
    5. How far apart will you and your co-parent be over the Easter weekend? How easy will changeovers be? Do you want to travel?
    6. Have the children expressed a view about what they want? Is it appropriate to give weight to those views, or should you as parents make the call? You may be able to use the context of your proposed agreement persuasively when raising this with your co-parent, or there may be some ‘middle ground’ you can sell more easily.
  4. Have an understanding of why your proposed arrangement is in the best interests of your children. It’s always hard to argue about what’s best for the kids! 

If you get stuck, or don’t want to speak with your co-parent/former partner directly, we can assist you to negotiate arrangements for special occasions and holidays, or prepare you for a mediation to negotiate this.

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