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Special Occasions With The Kids: A Survival Guide for Divorced Parents

By Senior Associate, Family

Special occasions like Christmas and birthdays can be a minefield for divorced parents. You both want to celebrate with your child or children, but not necessarily with each other.

Agreed dates for your other half to have contact may clash and leave you feeling like you’re missing out, but the following could help achieve an amicable solution that suits everyone. 

  • Always consider what is in your child’s best interest, not what is convenient to you. Your child or children will most likely be aware of the special occasion from school activities and want to give a card or present in person. Stopping them from doing so may risk upsetting them as well as your ex.
  • If you cannot reach an agreement on whom the children should spend time with, consider splitting the day in half.
  • Distance can always be an issue so ideally handovers should be shared equally, if this is not possible then perhaps have a mid-way meeting point.
  • Discuss the arrangements well in advance. It is never too late to start and if you are unable to communicate directly consider the use of an independent third party. 

Court action should always be regarded as a last resort and there are several options available to assist in reaching a resolution, including mediation, collaborative law or solicitors negotiations. When matters are referred to a family court a judge is often asked to decide the arrangements for special occasions and parents should expect a common sense approach. For example, on Father’s Day unless there is a good reason a child should get to spend time with their dad. 

Given the significance of the special occasions it can often lead to increase emotions and animosity if no agreement can be reached. Whatever the nature of the dispute the children should not exposed to the conflict and this duty falls upon both parents concerned. 

If you need advice in respect of your legal position or ongoing support in reaching an agreement speak to the expert family lawyers at Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we will be happy to help.

Ben Evans is a family lawyer at Slater and Gordon in Cardiff.

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