A family breakup can be a tumultuous time for both parents and kids alike. But the effect of a divorce or separation can be particularly painstaking when it comes to traditionally happy occasions like holidays and special events. For children, new circumstances along with changes in routine are likely to trigger feelings of loss and depression.
According to new research from Comparetravelinsurance.com.au, nearly 60% of parents say they would continue to travel with their children in the aftermath of a separation.
And while this period may be the perfect time to get away from it all, experts say it’s essential that parents plan ahead and communicate their plans with one another.
Family breakups can be traumatic for a host of reasons, particularly when tensions and disputes arise over issues like custody and consent. Taking the kids away for a holiday can be just the ticket to refresh the senses but communication is key. It’s important that parents discuss their holiday plans before booking a trip.
tAKING CHILDREN ABROAD: THE RULES
Get consent: As a rule of thumb, a parent wishing to take their child interstate or overseas should obtain the other parent’s consent prior to travel. Approval may also be required from those with parental responsibilities, such as grandparents and/or legal guardians. It's important to have written consent and passports in hand well in advance. If you do not have sufficient documentation you could find yourself turned away at border control or worse, embroiled in a child abduction case.
Get legal: Separated parents should do their research and find out where they stand well before making any travel arrangements. Failing to obtain the consent of your child’s parent may be a criminal offence. Don’t leave your legal obligations to the last minute. Avoid booking and paying for overseas flights and accommodation until you’ve got valid passports and a letter of consent in hand.
Prove your relationship: Parents with different surnames to their children may also face questions at border control. If your not the child’s parent, or have changed your last name, it's important that you are able to prove your lawful relationship with the child by carrying the right documents. At this unpredictable time, the last thing you want is to be turned away at border control or face accusations of child abduction.
Get passports organised: When it comes to passport applications, again, both parents must consent to the child travelling internationally. In the event that a parent is unable or refuses to grant consent to travel, a court order may be required to resolve the issue.
HASSLE-FREE HOLIDAY TIPSFamily breakups can be tremendously disruptive but with a healthy co-parenting approach, the holidays needn’t set your stress levels soaring. Take the following steps to prevent any fallout over what should be an enjoyable, relaxing trip away with the kids:
Learn the rules of your destination: Due to the growing prevalence of child abduction cases, certain countries may have varying rules over travel consent when travelling with children. Brazil for instance, requires travel consent forms specific to that country. It may be wise to get in touch with the embassy at your destination and start making provisions for your trip well before your departure date.
Understand what travel insurance will cover: While family disputes and relationship breakdowns are not covered reason for cancellation we strongly encourage parents to take travel insurance. Once you leave Australia you no longer have access to emergency and health services. Should you or your child fall ill and require medical treatment, travel insurance can be of invaluable assistance. While you wouldn’t be able to cancel or cut your trip short in the event of a family break-up, it’s still essential that you are prepared for a wide range of scenarios.
Keep communicating: Although your relationship may be under strain, take care that you and your ex are sharing your travel plans ahead of time and are maintaining a clear and honest dialogue. Discuss and plan your travels so there can be no conflict over scheduling. When in doubt, remember that the wellbeing of your kids should be the top priority at this time.