Christmas Contact

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Yes, the dreaded ‘C’ word, and it isn’t even Halloween yet!

However, I make no apology for raising the subject of contact with children over Christmas now as experience has shown that the later you leave this issue, the more stressful and fraught it can be for both parents and the child  or children.Parents who have separated some time ago, have usually sorted out major holiday contact, but if the split has only just occurred this year, this will be the first Christmas a child or children may not have both their parents together.

Advance discussions should smooth the way for a ‘no argument’ and dare I suggest, ‘peaceful’ Christmas, after all, it is the season for goodwill to all man (and woman!).

A lot of parents get fixated on Christmas Day itself, and go to extremes to try and divide up the special day equally. I’d suggest that if you have older children, discuss with them what they would like to do. Some are more than happy to go from house to house, whereas some would rather stay in one home all day.

With younger children, I would suggest that the parent think about it from their point of view. I had one client who was so keen to be fair and ensure that her young son had equal time with each parent, she hadn’t taken into account the fact that her child had literally no time to himself all day to play with the lovely toys and presents she and his father had bought.  It was such a strict timetable, that the boy was up, breakfast, presents, church, maternal grandparents, xmas lunch, Dads, Paternal grandparents, tea, home exhausted then bed. It had such military precision but overlooked the most important issue, that her son didn’t have time to enjoy Christmas Day.

The following year, the little boy spent Christmas Day with Mum and Boxing Day with Dad and had a much more relaxed and enjoyable time (as did the parents!).

What works for one family doesn’t always work for another, so think things through. The most important thing as a parent is to ensure that your child/children have a fantastic day, even if sometimes that comes as a result of you not always getting what you want!

Compromise is a wonderful thing, and a lot cheaper than arguing it out in the Courts just before Christmas.

If you need advice on where a child should live or other aspects of family law, our expert solicitors are here to help.

Judith Wright

About Judith Wright

Judith is an Associate within the Family Law department at Forbes Solicitors. Judith writes and advises on all areas of family law, including separation and divorce, dissolution of civil partnerships, financial settlements, prenuptial agreements, injunctions, Occupation Orders, matrimonial transfers of property, cohabitation disputes and issues regarding the arrangements for children.
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