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We have separated, who will the children spend Christmas day with?
- AuthorJennifer Allen
Separating/ divorcing parents can find that it is difficult to reach an agreement as to who their children spend time with at Christmas. Difficult conversations can be a source of stress over the Christmas period, resulting in family disputes.
In order to avoid upset and anxiety about making plans, it is advisable to reach a resolution and plan in advance, taking extra special care to make Christmas a great time for the children. Just because the children have to split their time between two households this does not have to be negative. Children often enjoy it as they have two Christmas Days for the price of one!
The key to avoid difficulty with arrangements is to plan early.
Many families establish an arrangement whereby they alternating where the children spend Christmas Day year on year. The courts tend to endorse the approach as being fair to all.
It is of utmost importance to put the children’s needs first. Whilst it is, of course, understandable that parents may wish for their children to wake up with them on Christmas morning, it is important for the children to be able to experience the festivities with both parents, albeit separately. By alternating those arrangements this often therefore works well.
It is important for the children not to feel that they have to “choose” between their parents. Practical arrangements and contingency arrangements to avoid difficulties if there is bad weather, traffic and delays on Christmas Day etc need to be thought about and coordinating practical arrangements to accommodate wider family members ought to also be borne in mind.
An application to Court for Christmas contact ought to be a last resort. By planning early this can be avoided.
The first Christmas is often the most difficult for parents to reach a resolution. Mediation is often an excellent forum to discuss what long term arrangements would work well for the children, particularly when separation is new and this will be unchartered territory.
If you experience difficulties in reach resolution regarding child arrangements please contact one of our experienced family team who can assist you.