The Christmas holidays are just around the corner and it is essential that separated parents plan early and properly to allow the child(ren) to spend memorable time with both parents.
It is widely recognised that Christmas time is to be spent with loved ones, however, as we are all aware there can be complications that may stop this from happening. For example, a previous relationship breakdown or current separation can cause problems for parents when deciding where their child(ren) will stay. Planning can often cause a lot of conflict or stress if parents are unable to agree. It is vital that parents put their own needs, wishes and feelings aside and prioritise what is best for the child(ren).
Unless there is a Child Arrangements Order in place that states otherwise, there is no definitive rule on where and with who the child(ren) should spend their time during the festive period. There is an expectation from the Court that all holidays should be shared fairly and for the child(ren) to spend quality time with each parent (so long as it is safe to do so).
A common approach between separated parents is for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day to be alternated between them each year. Alternatively, Christmas Day to be shared with one parent having the morning and the other the afternoon – although this arrangement may not suit every child or may not be possible due to logistics.
Discussions should take place before the Christmas holidays begin and in plenty of time for all parties involved to make arrangements.. This will make it easier for parents to plan celebrations and visits to relatives. If you are planning a trip abroad then you must obtain the consent of anybody that has parental responsibility (including the mother and father where relevant).
What if you cannot agree?
If you do not think an agreement will be reached about how the child(ren) spends the festive period, then please consult legal advice to allow enough time for the matter to resolved. GL will be able to assist you with this. Please call Jennifer Hargreaves on 0117 906 9420 or email Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org