Children’s passport warning to divorced and separated parents

A nationwide charity has urged separated and divorced mother and father to not postpone tackling the subject of passports for his or her youngsters forward of the summer season interval. The warning comes amidst rising considerations in regards to the backlog being attributable to the surge in new passport and renewal functions following the lifting of most journey restrictions, with the UK Passport Workplace advising folks that the method might take as much as 10 weeks.

Based on the charity Nationwide Household Mediation (NFM), which helps households to kind preparations for kids, property, finance and different vital issues following separation or divorce, passports recurrently function as an space of battle for warring exes. Within the final 18 months the charity has helped greater than 150 {couples} particularly regarding passport and journey issues, and dozens extra who’ve talked about passport and journey as a part of wider considerations.

Whereas NFM says it all the time sees a rise within the variety of individuals attending mediation regarding journey forward of the summer season interval, it’s more likely to be a very sizzling subject this yr, as many households look to get pleasure from their first journey overseas for the reason that begin of the pandemic. Whereas it’s doable for one individual with parental accountability to use with out the opposite individual’s permission, Jane Robey, CEO of NFM, stated that was unlikely to lead to a optimistic consequence for anybody concerned.

Jane explains: “Holidays abroad are supposed to be fun and exciting, and they are likely to be even more so this year given the fact that many families haven’t been able to travel of late as a result of Covid-19. However, for couples in conflict, passports for the children and travel to another country can also be a contentious topic, and for a whole host of reasons.

“One or other parent might feel nervous about the kids going abroad without them, or with their ex’s new partner. Other people might begrudge their former spouse spending money on a trip away when they feel more should be going towards child support. When one parent feels particularly strongly about the issue, it’s not uncommon for them refuse to approve a passport application, which inevitably leads to further disagreements.”

Jane says that NFM’s nationwide community of mediators all the time see a rise within the variety of {couples} wanting to debate issues regarding journey and passports within the months main as much as the summer season break, and that the group are poised for an extra surge this yr given current occasions. She has urged any mother and father who’re hoping to go on vacation this yr to lift any considerations with their ex-partner as quickly as doable in gentle of the broader points and delays regarding passport functions.

Jane added: “Our mediators always see an increase in cases relating to passports for children in the months before the summer break, but we are expecting a further surge this year as so many people put off applications and renewals while the travel restrictions were in place.

“While technically it is possible for just one parent to a complete a passport application, in our experience that approach tends to further fuel the conflict, and can lead to further arguments and upset. In a worst case scenario, your former spouse might even apply to the courts to block the application.

“My advice to anyone wanting to travel this year is to discuss the matter with your ex as soon as possible to avoid further delays. If you’re relationship is too fragmented, it is worth considering speaking to a professional mediator as they are highly skilled third-party negotiators with experience in helping families create long-term solutions that work well for their particular circumstances.

“Currently couples wanting to discuss children matters can also access the Family Mediation Voucher Scheme which is worth up to £500, so there is no reason to worry about financing it.”

Along with the household mediation voucher scheme, Authorized Support additionally stays out there for household mediation.

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