5 Christmas tips for separated families

Christmas can be a fraught time for separated families with children. Having to split the festive season between two households can be extremely distressing for all concerned, especially if it is not handled with care.

Here are our five top tips for making the holiday season as stress-free as possible.

1. Agree arrangements with the other parent if you possibly can. Be aware that it is now almost certainly too late to ask the court to sort things out. The court will only be able to deal with urgent matters between now and Christmas, and will not usually consider a dispute over Christmas arrangements to be sufficiently urgent to deal with at short notice.

2. A very common arrangement is to alternate Christmas Day between the two households. For example, one year the children can spend Christmas Day with one parent and Boxing Day with the other, and then the arrangement is reversed the following year. Most children will be only too happy to have two Christmases! Of course, this is only possible if the parents live quite close to one another. If they live further apart, the arrangement could, for example, be to alternate the Christmas holidays between the two households.

3. If you remain on good terms with the other parent, and if neither parent has a new family, then consider spending Christmas Day with the children together. It can work, and the children will be only too happy to spend the day with both parents.

4. If the children do spend Christmas Day with only one parent, then allow them to speak to other parent during the day, whether by phone, social media, text messaging, or some other means. Most children will want to share the day with both parents as much as they can.

5. Lastly, and this may be a little too late already, make sure that you agree which parent buys which presents for the children. Most children these days have very specific wishes when it comes to presents, and there are few things more disappointing for a child at Christmas than receiving ‘repeat’ presents!

We hope that these tips are helpful, but whatever you do, enjoy Christmas with your children!

If you believe you have an urgent issue to resolve regarding Christmas arrangements for children, or if you would just like some would like legal advice on the subject, Family Law Cafe can help. To book a free initial consultation with us click the green button at the top of this page and fill in the form, or call us on 020 3904 0506.

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Baubles image by Horia Varlan (From Flickr), licensed under CC BY 2.0.