Dealing with Christmas arrangements following a separation
22 November 2018 by Julia Brewer
When the parents have separated and the family has changed there is no denying that deciding on the arrangements for children over the Christmas period can be stressful and emotional for all involved.
Sometimes, one parent will expect to always have care of the children on Christmas Day. Very often, when courts are asked to make this decision, the court take the view that Christmas arrangements should be alternated between the parents, with one having Christmas Day and the other having Boxing Day and this then alternating the following year. When making the arrangements try to see things from the child’s perspective. Let your child know what the plans are so that they know what to expect and take into consideration their views on those plans. Avoid putting children under pressure by having to choose between you and avoid letting your children feel that they have let you down by enjoying Christmas with the other parent.
Among separated couples with children, they may decide to deal with the arrangements by replicating Christmas Day on Boxing Day, so that the children have two Christmas Days rather than just one.
Agreeing the arrangements for Christmas does not necessarily have to involve a court application and it will be less stressful for all involved if an agreement can be reached without the need to resort to court proceedings.
Mediation is often useful for parents to agree these issues between them if they find communication difficult.
Depending on the children’s age, there will often be several years of Christmases ahead to enjoy with the children, so efforts should be made to ensure agreeing arrangements is as stress-free as possible, and for everyone to feel that the children spend a fair amount of time with each parent.