Christmas is traditionally a time where families celebrate the festive period together – so it can be stressful and upsetting for separated parents and their children. We look to ease some of the stress with our top tips for Christmas contact for separated parents.
Contact arrangements can prove to be a bone of contention throughout the festive season – even if a previous court order is in place, more often than not that order will not specify what route should be taken during the Christmas and New Year period. Our Family Solicitors here at Pinney Talfourd have rounded up their top ten tips on how to make sure that Christmas is a stress-free time for parents and children alike.
Christmas is a time for children to have a break from school, relax and recuperate from a long term. It is equally a time for them to be excited and have some fun and enjoy time with their family. Always, always remember this.
Agree on the Christmas contact arrangements well in advance of the holiday. It usually works very well to have the same arrangement alternated between the parents each year; for example, Christmas Day in even years will be spent with Mum, then in odd years with Dad.
Avoid making a child travel too far on Christmas Day; refer back to point 1. This is a time of fun and excitement for children; if it can be avoided at all, do not force them to be stuck in the car spending hours of the day travelling just to get to the other parent’s home.
Making a child eat two Christmas dinners in one day just so neither parent misses out on this special meal is not ever in the child’s best interests – unless of course your child loves brussels sprouts. However, the same cannot be said about dessert…
Do not try and out-do each other with the gifts you buy; of course, this is the time of year for spoiling your children, but be mindful of what the other parent can realistically afford. Do not intentionally buy a huge expensive present just to win the best present award.
Always discuss with the other parent what you are intending to buy for the child – imagine them being so excited for weeks about the huge, nicely wrapped box under the tree, only to open it on Christmas afternoon to find it is the exact same scooter that the other parent has already bought for them.
Around Christmas time there are usually family parties and gatherings, pantomimes, Christmas markets and events that you would like to take your children to. Be flexible with one another about the child arrangements to ensure they get to partake in all of the festivities.
Your children would probably quite like to buy their other parent a Christmas gift. You should encourage this and if necessary take them to the shop to pick something out and help them wrap it.
Like any time in the year, but in particular over the Christmas period, do not let the children pick up on the Christmas stress, worries or disputes.
If you are separated and are looking for more advice on your legal rights as a parent, Pinney Talfourd Solicitors are here to help. We have an experienced and dedicated team of specialist family lawyers based in our offices in Essex and London.
We have evening and weekend appointments available and 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 to an expert lawyer and discuss the best steps to minimise stress and delays.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.