Christmas contact for separated families


It is never too early for separated families to start working together to arrange Christmas contact in the best interest of the children. 

It is never too early to start working with the other parent to sort out which part of the coming Christmas holidays your child or children will spend with each of you.

You always know Christmas is around the corner when the shops start selling cards and gifts, lights go up in offices and shops – even though it is only the second week of November!

If your child or children live with their your ex spouse or ex partner, then it is never too early to start working with the other parent to sort out which part of the coming Christmas holidays your child or children will spend with each of you.

It’s a good idea to try and share the time equally and alternate from year to year, especially when your children are young, so that as the years go by, you can both enjoy the experience of waking up on Christmas morning and opening their presents with them. It will always be best for your child or children if you can agree this without the need for the Court to get involved.

However, if you cannot agree on a schedule of time that your child or children will spend with each of you, you may need to apply to Court for an Order, which is now called a Child Arrangement Order (we no longer use the phrases ‘access’, ‘contact’, ‘custody’ or ‘residence’ when talking about children), though save in limited circumstances you must at least try and reach an agreement through mediation otherwise you will not be able to apply to the Court for a Judge to sort things out.

It is therefore important to try and reach a fair agreement with your ex partner or spouse and if all else fails seek advice from a solicitor as early as possible or you might find that it is too late to get a Court hearing in time for Christmas. The Family Court tends to be very busy this time of year.


If you are in this difficult position, Pinney Talfourd are here to help. We have a large experienced and dedicated team of specialist family lawyers and we would be happy to help you through this difficult time. We can offer late appointments from Monday to Thursday in each of our offices in Upminster, Hornchurch and Brentwood and your initial 30 minute consultation will be free.If you would like more information please contact our Family Law Department on 01708 229444  (Upminster or Hornchurch), 01277 211755 (Brentwood office) or 01702 418433 (Leigh-on-Sea).  We offer a free initial 30 minute consultation for all new family law enquiries. You can book your free initial family consultation using our online booking form or by calling your local office. This half hour appointment will allow you to explain the situation with an expert lawyer and discuss the best steps to minimise delays. 
This article was written by Michael Sheville, a family lawyer based at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors’ Upminster office. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as at November 2016.


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