For some, the most stressful part of the festive season is trying to ensure the turkey is perfectly golden brown and that everyone has enough pigs in blankets to eat. For separated parents, however, it can be an extremely anxious and stressful time trying to make the necessary arrangements for where their children will spend Christmas and the holidays and that can prove really difficult.
Unless Christmas contact has previously been arranged by way of a formal agreement or by Court Order, you need to try to make these arrangements between yourselves. At Thorntons we advise you to talk about what arrangements are to be made as soon as possible so as avoid uncertainty in the run up to the festive period. Try to have an agreement in place well in advance of the festive period so that everyone knows where they stand and can make plans for the big day. It is really important for children to know what is happening and where they are to be.
It is important to remember that no two families are the same and there are no rules when it comes to organising children’s time at Christmas. The arrangements which are made should be in the best interests of the children and, if possible, you should ask the children for their views, but make it clear that there may have to be some compromises. For example, some families choose to move children between households at a specific time on Christmas Day so that each parent has time with the children on Christmas Day itself. Other families choose to leave the children in one house on Christmas Day and move the children to the other household on Boxing Day. The arrangements can be as flexible or structured as you want them to be..
You should also think about whether your regular contact schedule will require to be modified in the run up to Christmas as well as considering any “emergency plans” which would come into place if, for example, bad weather makes travelling difficult or impossible. Parents should be able to contact one another, or another family members, in the case of an emergency.
Christmas arrangements for children whose parents live apart always need careful planning. If you need help with regard to the arrangements for your children over the up and coming Christmas period, please, get in touch with Thorntons for specialist legal advice as soon as possible We have a large team of family law solicitors who would be able and willing to assist.
If you need help with regard to Christmas contact, get in touch with Thorntons for specialist legal advice as soon as possible. For more information or assistance please contact a member of the Family Law team on 03330 430150.