Child Arrangements During Christmas Holidays
After the last two years, time with loved ones has never felt so important. However, for separated parents, Christmas can be a time of worry and stress as arrangements need to be put in place as to where and how the children will spend the festive season.
Here are some tips for avoiding any festive unhappiness and how to agree on arrangements for children during Christmas.
What are my rights for seeing my children over Christmas?
It is recognised that it is in the best interest of the children to see both parents and for children to have contact with both parents.
Unless there are issues of domestic violence and/or abuse, neither parent should prevent the other from seeing the children.
It is strongly advisable to agree an arrangement to ensure time is spent with both parents during what is a magical time of year for all children.
Tom Quail shares some tips on agreeing festive contact arrangements, amicably, as follows:-
- Be organised
If you do not have agreed plans in place, start a conversation with your ex-partner and agree an arrangement that works best for you and the children.
Parents tend to agree that Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are the main days and are dealt with separately from the rest of the holiday period.
Suggested arrangements can include:-
- Christmas Eve at one home until lunch on Christmas Day;
- Children spending the entire Christmas period with one parent and alternate the following year;
- Share Christmas Day with the handover after lunch or tea time if you live near to one another;
- Share the holidays so one parent has one week with Christmas and the other has New Year, and alternate each year.
- Include the children
Include the children, but do not make them choose. Depending on the age of the children, include them in discussions as older children often need to feel they are being heard.
Once a child is older than five, the courts will want to know their views. Avoid court proceedings, but include the children.
- Be fair and considerate to the other parent
Ask yourself if you would be happy with the proposed plan. If the answer is “no”, maybe the plan should be reconsidered.
- Put the plan in writing
Once you reach an agreement, it is a good idea to put it in writing, email, send it to the other parent. If there are any other issues, these can be resolved in good time before Christmas. This should also help to avoid any misunderstandings as you have committed it to print.
- Stick with the plan whenever possible
Be prepared to be flexible with arrangements for the children and willing to adapt your plans to an extent.
- Last minute changes
Last minute changes to the plan often cause feelings of disruption, uncertainty and anxiety. Whilst flexibility is important, it is equally important to have stability.
If you need any advice on child arrangements during Christmas, or any other family law issues, contact Tom Quail for a free minute case review.