Child Contact Arrangements This Christmas
For most of us Christmas is an opportunity to spend some quality time with our loved ones, and children especially can provide that ‘magic spark’ over the festive period. However for parents going through a separation or divorce, Christmas can be a very tough time where decisions need to be made over “who gets the kids this year?”
As a solicitor firm dealing in Family Law cases involving separation and divorce, we are contacted by a number of parents in the months leading up to Christmas to assist with these issues. For many people, thinking about Christmas in October is absurd, but when it comes to sensitive family issues, it is never to early to start preparing.
In this blog we will look to provide advice around how to manage child contact in a fair and civilised way at Christmas. The last thing any child wants is to be stuck in a tug-of-war between their parents. Below are 3 tips for child contact arrangements at Christmas…
Communication is key – both parents need to discuss the situation openly and decide how the holiday will be split. We know that this is sometimes easier said than done and that some situations are more complex than others.
It is important to communicate with your child and give them a clear and timely indication of what the arrangements are. It is not advisable to ask your child to decide who to spend Christmas with as this can put a lot of pressure on them and will usually result in both the parent and child being hurt.
Don’t leave it to the last minute
Leaving things to the last minute can make for a messy, rushed and stressful Christmas. Emotions will run higher and rash decisions will be made leading to arguments and an unpleasant atmosphere for the children. Our advice would be to set a date well in advance each year in which arrangements can be made, discussed and adhered to.
Focus on the positives
We sometimes see that the resident parent feels they deserve the child on Christmas Day having worked hard all year to support them, while the non-resident parent feels they do not get enough time and are missing another important day.
Perhaps instead of restricting your child to having Christmas with one parent every year, why not arrange to have a Christmas in one parent’s house on Christmas Day and another, with the other parent on Boxing Day. Don’t turn Christmas into a difficult time for you and your child, make the most of it and focus on the positives where possible.
If you cannot agree on child contact arrangements for the Christmas period there are other options, however we would recommend avoiding court proceedings in these circumstances.
MKB Law’s Family Law solicitor Karen Edwards comments: “Christmas can be a difficult time for families after separation, however childhood memories can last a lifetime and everyone involved should work towards making Christmas enjoyable for children no matter what the current circumstances are. The Family Law team here at MKB Law have worked with a number of clients over the years offering advice and where necessary mediation services to help resolve any issues.”