Whilst it may only be September, now is the time to reach an agreement with your former partner about the arrangements for the children at Christmas.
It may well be that you are simply alternating the arrangements from last Christmas but what if you only separated from your partner this year, and this Christmas will be the first one as separated parents?Christmas is a very difficult time when you are a separated parent. So how do you make an arrangement which leads to Christmas still being a special time for the family and in particular the children?
The advice is to sort out the arrangements early so everyone knows what is happening, and December is not any more stressful than it might otherwise be. There are various options open in terms of the arrangements for the children and you should consider amongst other things the following:- whether Christmas Day itself should be divided, would it be better for one of you to have the children in the morning to wake up and open presents with and the other to have the children in the afternoon for Christmas Dinner?
Or you might agree that one parent has the children on Christmas Day and the other parent has them on Boxing Day?
Or you agree that one parent has the children for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the other parent has the children for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day?
The point to remember is that generally whatever the arrangements are for this year, the opposite arrangements will take place next year. Therefore if you agree that you should be having Christmas Day this year, and the other parent should have Boxing Day, next year the arrangements would be reversed and you would be having the children on Boxing Day.
If you cannot reach an agreement, the first option is to try and resolve the issue in mediation. If you cannot reach an agreement then a court application would be necessary. This takes time however, and it is not something that can be left until the last week before Christmas.
The advice is therefore to resolve these arrangements sooner rather than later.
For more information or some preliminary, confidential advice please contact our Family Team, or your local office.