With Christmas upon us, one of the biggest issues facing separated parents at this time of year is who is entitled to spend time with their children.
Here we discuss the options available to parents in this situation to try and resolve the added stress of figuring out who will get to see their children over the festive period.
What law is currently in place?
It is highly recommended that children should spend quality time with both parents over Christmas and that both parents try and reach a practical agreement. If a child is old enough, it is also advised to include their opinion in the decision-making process. The courts should only be invited to intervene as a resort when all options have been explored and no agreement has been reached.
What are the options for Christmas child arrangements?
Whole family spend the day together.
It is an option for both parents to spend Christmas day with the child. Of course, this is only possible if the relationship has remained amicable between the two separated parties. There is a risk that this could confuse the child to think that their parents are getting back together so is important to discuss this with the child.
There is two ways to split the days, so the child gets equal time with the two separated parents. The first is that they spend Christmas day with one parent, then boxing day with the other so it is almost as though the child has two Christmas days. Alternatively, Christmas Eve and the Christmas morning is spent with one parent and then the afternoon and boxing day with another to ensure an equal split.
Alternating each year
Another way is the child spends the Christmas period with one parent and the New year period with another and they alternate this each year.
How to reach an agreement for Christmas child arrangements with difficult co-parents?
The best way to approach this is to plan as far as in advance of Christmas as you can. This allows enough time to negotiate which will help make it less stressful. Try to be open to communication and make realistic solutions, as well as thinking of the arrangement from the child’s perspective and what will cause less disruption.
Once a plan is in place; the best thing to do is to put it in writing and send it to the other parent; so any issues or misunderstandings can be resolved smoothly.
Contact us for advice.
If you would like any advice on who is entitled to have the children on Christmas Day please contact us on 0808 304 7471.