Posted on Nov 08, 2013
November rush as festive period approaches As the festive season approaches, shops are not the only ones feeling the Christmas rush.
November can be a notoriously busy time for family lawyers, as separated parents seek legal advice on how to split the festive period with their children. This can cause huge disagreements with parents battling it out for access.
Amanda Wilson, family lawyer at Thorntons, explains that there is no right way to handle the issue.
She said: "If you have an agreement with your ex-partner for contact, or if you have an order through the court, this may or may not include arrangements for extra contact during holiday periods.If there is no agreement in place then it is up to you to try and reach a decision for extra contact with the children.
"There is no right or wrong answer as to how holidays should be divided between parents. Just because one family does it one way does not necessarily mean that that would work for another family. Each case will have to be looked at individually on its own set of circumstances. There may be trips to extended family members, Christmas parties and other events that will all have to be factored in."
Thorntons, which has a team of seven specialist family lawyers providing legal support and services on divorce, separation and issues relating to children, advises parents to think carefully before agreeing to split Christmas Day.
Amanda added: "Some people want the children to spend half the day with each of their parents on Christmas Day. Whilst that might be beneficial to the parents, you would need to consider the impact that could have on the children, who could easily be over-excited and exhausted after half a day of opening presents and eating too much chocolate.
"How easy is it going to be to take a child away from a house full of new toys?
"It may be easier for all if one parent has all of Christmas Day and then the other has all of Boxing Day and simply has that as their 'own Christmas Day'. The position could then be reversed the following year."
Parents who would like to seek legal advice about custody during the holidays are being urged to contact their lawyer as soon as possible in a bid to minimise hassle leading up to the big day.
Amanda said: "Lawyers regularly appear in court in the days leading up to Christmas, including Christmas Eve, trying to get last minute court orders, so the earlier Christmas custody arrangements can be decided the better.
"We would encourage parents to put their differences aside to try and work out a solution that would be best for the children that would take a big weight off their shoulders and give them peace of mind to enjoy Christmas and to plan their festive activities."