Christmas is a special time of year and for most, a happy and joyous occasion and an opportunity to spend quality time focusing on their family. However, for separated parents, the festive season can be dampened by disputes and tension arising over contact and how a child’s time should be divided. Naturally, every parent wants to spend time with their child over Christmas.
It can be a difficult process to juggle your child’s time to ensure they are seeing all their family members and spending enough time playing with any new toys. In the run up to Christmas, it is important to agree your child arrangements as early as possible. In some cases, it is not possible for parents to resolve this by themselves and therefore the matter may have to be resolved with the assistance of mediation, negotiations via solicitors, or by one party issuing court proceedings where a Judge will determine how a child’s time should be spent. Court proceedings should be considered as a last resort as this can be a costly and lengthy process, and can have an impact upon the parents’ ongoing relationship.
In determining a judgement, a Court will consider various factors but the presumption is that child should have quality time with both parents on an equal basis. This may be good guidance for a starting point if you are looking to resolve this type of situation amicably.
It may be beneficial for you and your ex-partner to draw up a timetable in advance to the Christmas period. This will avoid any miscommunication and confusion over when each parent is spending time with their child. It will also allow each parent to plan activities in advance and make the most of their time with their child, and truly make it the most wonderful time of the year for them.
The key to this is to communicate, compromise and plan. Your child’s welfare and happiness should be the priority of everyone involved and prior planning before Christmas begins will avoid any upset to you or your child.
In the unfortunate event you are not able to come to an agreement and are facing difficulties surrounding your child arrangements, please get in touch with our Family Law team for further advice or assistance: email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01908 202150.