Separated or divorced? Should you be thinking about Christmas

If you’re separated or divorced is it too late to have sorted out the arrangements for your children over the Christmas period?

It seems a long time since Halloween and Bonfire night. Now it’s the time of school Christmas fairs, Christmas lights switch ons and all those digital radio stations dedicated to Christmas music.

This can be a difficult time for parents and children, particularly if it’s the first Christmas after you’ve separated or divorced. It’s likely that each of you will want to spend time with the children on Christmas Day and see them open their presents on Christmas morning so how do you manage the arrangements? The best arrangements are those made by agreement with your ex rather than having to be imposed on you both by a court. You may well have left it too late for the Court to be able to decide what happens this Christmas if you haven’t been able to sort things out for this year. You’ll need to be clear on all of the details including who will be responsible for collection and return as well as the times and dates.

Do you live close enough to each other so that the children can split the day with both parents without hours of travelling in between? If not, could they have a ‘second’ Christmas Day on say Boxing Day? If the children are young, would it be better for them to wake up in their own bed? Would the children feel that they are missing out if they don’t spend the time with any step or half siblings? If sharing Christmas day won’t work then how about alternating each year?

Planning Christmas arrangements now will help avoid last minute arguments and urgent applications to the court.

Cooperation between parents who are separated or divorced will offer the best chance for everyone to have a good time over the festive period. You also need consider if the Christmas arrangements will affect the usual routine for seeing the children.

If you find it difficult to discuss matters directly with your ex you may need to see a specialist family solicitor to negotiate on your behalf. Mediation might be an alternative to court proceedings to help you both reach an agreement.

If you want any help and advice on divorce we offer an free initial consultation, just call one of our offices that is most convenient to you and ask to speak to a member of the Family Team.

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