My husband and I are recently separated and this will be our first Christmas apart; we are struggling to agree on contact arrangements for our children over the holiday 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 with both parents being able to agree to the times and dates. However, unfortunately, in some cases, this is not so simple and agreeing contact with your ex-partner can be very difficult.
There are no definite rules as to how, or when, Christmas contact should take place, each case is different. However, the key consideration 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 to plan contact over the Christmas period sooner, rather than later 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 key to making arrangements, 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. If 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.
For further advice about family arrangements please contact our Family team.