With us now being 8 months into the year, Christmas is fast approaching. One of the biggest issues that separated parents face this time of year, is who is entitled to spend time with the children over the festive period.

Facing separation is already difficult enough, but the added stress of trying to agree who will get to see the children on which days, particularly during special occasions such as Christmas, especially if relationships are already strained form these proceedings, is almost impossible for most families.

If you do not have plans in place, now is the time to start thinking about this. You will need to attempt to work with the other parent to agree an arrangement that works for you all, but most importantly the children. It is a personal choice based on what works for your family, but also your children, their age and the location. You must be prepared to be flexible and plans may need to change in order to benefit the children.

A different type of Christmas can still be a good Christmas for the children. Talk about the positives: two Christmas days, two sets of presents etc. Depending on their age, make sure you share your plans with them and ask them what they would like to do. Knowing the routine will make them feel safe and secure.

It is important that whatever arrangements you come to, you both stick to the plan. Last minute changes can cause feelings of disruption and uncertainty for the children. If you are struggling to make arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, and we can also assist with attempting to negotiate an agreement. Alternatively, mediation can help, as the presence of a third party often eases tension and results in finding common ground. Court proceedings should be used as a last resort, but we acknowledge that this can sometimes be necessary; and can assist you with that too.

Hopefully, with these tips and careful planning and compromise, it will help move towards a harmonious Christmas.

For further help and information contact our Children Law team on

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