Struggling to agree on arranging contact for the children?
My husband and I recently separated and this will be our first Christmas apart. We are struggling to agree on arranging contact for the children over the festive period. Do you have a solution that would suit us both?
For most parents, arranging contact with the children over the Christmas period can be a very simple process. Unfortunately, however, in some cases, this is not so simple with both parents unable to agree to suitable times and dates. Emotions are often fraught and agreeing contact with your ex-partner can be very difficult.
There are no definite rules as to how, or when, arranging contact with the children over Christmas should take place. Each case is different. However, the key consideration to ask is “what is best for the children?” and perhaps in some cases, it is appropriate to ask what the children would like.
It is always best for parents to be pro-active with planning contact sooner, rather than later, especially over the Christmas period by either discussing the plans directly or in writing. Think about alternating Christmas so the children will be with mum on Christmas Day one year, and with Dad the next. Alternatively, consider dividing Christmas Day between both parents to allow the children to see both.
Communication is the key to arranging contact with the children. Try to put your differences aside and work together. If you cannot communicate directly with your partner, then seek help from a family lawyer who can assist you with this.
If in the unfortunate event contact arrangements cannot be agreed, then both parents may wish to consider family mediation. A trained mediator will be present to assist you and help guide you towards a mutual agreement. In the event where mediation cannot assist, then you may need to seek the help of a Court. However, this should really only be done when all other avenues have been exhausted as Court proceedings are timely and costly.
Should you need further advice about family arrangements, Harold G Walker’s Family team can help.
Partner & Head of Family Law