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Christmas & childcare arrangements – things to consider for a Merry Christmas



Whilst Christmas is a magical time of year for children, for many parents it can be hectic and stressful. For separated parents, this feeling can be exacerbated as they also have to try and navigate agreeing arrangements with their ex-partner/spouse.

To help those parents struggling to find the right balance this Christmas family solicitor Victoria Cobham has created the following list of top tips for parents to consider for the festive period which we hope will assist in ensuring everyone, most importantly the children, have a relaxed and enjoyable time.

  1. Advance planning

Lockdown over the Christmas period in 2020 meant that many children may not have seen both their parents, and/or extended family. There are also likely to be far more in the way of parties and events now that restrictions have relaxed.

As such, more than ever, we would recommend you start discussing arrangements as early as possible, so that if there are any issues, there is sufficient time to resolve these.

Leaving it last minute will narrow the options available to you as the Court are extremely busy and will only deal with very urgent issues (for example where there is risk for the safety of a child) just before Christmas.

  1. Communication

Keep the lines of communication open. Some separated parents may feel able to discuss these issues directly together and even share the children’s Christmas gift lists.

Others may require legal assistance, particularly if this is the first Christmas since separation, but this does not need to be acrimonious. There are many ways to resolve these sorts of issues in a non-confrontational manner and without the need for court proceedings, so please seek assistance if needed.

  1. Putting the children at the heart of discussions

When making arrangements, always try to consider how they will impact the children.

Whilst the children should never be placed in the position of making decisions, where age appropriate, it is important for children to feel their wishes and feelings are being heard.

  1. Fairness

The Court acknowledge that this is a special time for families and therefore this period should not be monopolised by one parent.

Whilst the arrangements will depend on each family’s specific circumstances, there should be a sharing of this holiday. If you and your ex-spouse live close to each other, it may be that you share Christmas Day itself. Alternatively, Christmas Day and Boxing Day could be alternated each year. If your locations require more travelling for the children, it may be that you alternate the Christmas and New Year periods annually, so the children get to spend more extended time with each parent and reducing the travelling involved.

  1. Parenting Plan

When you have reached an agreement, it is helpful to record the detail in writing to ensure there is no confusion, misunderstanding or upset over the festive period. This would include dates, times, location etc for handovers. You could use a calendar, mobile app, or parenting plan to record the arrangements.

  1. Time keeping

Reaching an agreement is something that should be commended. It should make Christmas a far more relaxed and enjoyable experience for everyone. As such, it is important you stick to the arrangements, so that you can continue to co-parent successfully for the holidays to come.

If you are not able to reach an agreement before the Christmas break and would like some advice, the Mogers Drewett family team are here to help and offer a fixed fee initial consultation. You can contact Victoria Cobham on 01749 342 323  or email Victoria.cobham@mogersdrewett.com

 

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