Christmas for separated parents can be very challenging indeed. Agreeing who should spend time with the children and when can be very difficult. It’s the last day of October tomorrow and our Family Solicitors have already seen an increase in the number of people asking for legal advice on this issue.
We advise separated parents to consider the following when deciding about Christmas arrangements:
- Put the children first. Christmas is a magical time and children should be at the heart of any plans. Think about how they would like to spend their Christmas day and put this first. Consider sharing Christmas Day but be realistic about travelling time as it might not always be in your children’s best interest to spend a large portion of time getting from A to B. Another option is holding two Christmas days so no one misses out.
- Compromise is key. If just one parent is going to spend Christmas day with the children, this can be alternated next year with the other parent. They will both then have the opportunity to enjoy Christmas day with the children. If one parent is having the children on Christmas day the other could perhaps spend New Year’s Day with them.
- Plan arrangements as early as possible. If there is a disagreement early planning leaves time to resolve matters amicably and to look into other options to find a solution.
- Speak to a Family Solicitor if reaching an agreement is proving difficult. Our Family Law Solicitors can offer practical suggestions and solutions which you may not have considered, as well as giving parents the confidence to continue discussions directly.
- Family Mediation is often an excellent way of reaching a compromise if discussion directly between parents isn’t proving successful. In Mediation sessions a trained professional Mediator will help parents find an agreement which will work for them and most importantly for the children.
- An application to Court may be required if these other means have been unsuccessful. This need not be a stressful experience and a specialist Family Solicitor can help guide you through the process. In most cases a compromise is still found.
- After the Christmas holidays are over it’s important to reflect on what has and has not worked best for the children. Separated parents should then work together to ensure the same issues are not encountered again next Christmas.
Most importantly, try to relax and enjoy the time you have with the children on whatever day is it.
Hannah Cornish is a Family & Divorce Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Milton Keynes specialising in resolving disputes over children and financial issues in divorce cases.
For a free initial consultation call our Family Law Solicitors 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online.
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