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Christmas and Separated Parents: Putting your children first.

View profile for Nameeta Gujral
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Christmas is traditionally a time for families to come together. However for separated or divorced parents, the festive period can be a challenging time. The prospect of spending Christmas day without your children can stir emotions and cause considerable anxiety.

Parents often forget about their children’s emotions during this time. Most children will wish that their parents were back together and that they could wake up on Christmas morning as one big happy family. Whilst some separated parents are able to put aside their differences for one day a year, the majority cannot. A child could be left with childhood memories of being denied the opportunity to see a parent over the Christmas period which could follow them into adulthood.

Here are some helpful tips to assist parents when organising arrangements with their ex over the Christmas period:

Children want certainty. Planning in advance can give them this.

Help one another to make Christmas enjoyable and be prepared to compromise

Resist asking your children to decide. They may worry about upsetting either parent.

Insist that arrangements are in place by end of November at the latest.

Share present ideas with the other parent. This avoids duplicate presents.

Take the time to communicate with the other parent.

Make sure the arrangements are fair and the children see extended family members.

Arguing parents can be distressing. Put your children’s needs and emotions first.

Stay positive about the time your children spend with the other parent which will make the whole experience for them more enjoyable.

If you have tried to sort out Christmas arrangements with your ex-partner without success you may wish to seek the help of a trained mediator who will try and assist you both to negotiate an agreement. A mediator can provide guidance but not legal advice. If the other parent does not wish to attend mediation or the process has been unsuccessful, you may wish to see a solicitor. This does not mean that an application to the court will be necessary. A solicitor will be able to communicate with the other parent, on your behalf, setting out your proposals for the festive period. Often a face to face meeting in the hope of coming to an arrangement can be the most effective way of getting matters resolved.

If an agreement cannot be reached, an application to the Court will be necessary. Dealing with matters at the earliest opportunity can avoid urgent or last minute hearings which will inevitably increase your costs.

Our team at Martin Tolhurst Solicitors are experienced at dealing with such issues and we would encourage you to obtain legal advice sooner rather than later if you find yourself unable to agree matters with your ex-partner. We will be able to guide you through the process of dealing with disputes, irrespective of whether Court proceedings are necessary. Make this a great Christmas for your and your family. Plan ahead and make sure your children can enjoy the festive period with both their parents.

To arrange your initial consultation, speak to our New Enquiries Team on 01474 546013.