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Arrangements for children at Christmas following separation or divorce

This year has seen an increase in the number of applications to court about contact arrangements for children of separated parents. In particular this can be a problem at Christmas as this is a family time with children often being the main focus. This can cause difficulties for separated or divorced parents who are trying to agree the best arrangements for their children over the holiday period. 

This is particularly the case if this December will be their first Christmas apart. Often both parents will want their children to be with them on Christmas day. At Cartwright King our specialist team of family solicitors are here to help take the tension out of agreeing arrangements so that everyone can enjoy a stress free Christmas and New Year break.  

Some separated parents alternate Christmas day so that the children spend Christmas day with Mum one year and Dad the next and so on. Other parent’s find that children would prefer to see both parents on Christmas day and so arrange for example that children spend Christmas morning with Dad and Christmas night with Mum on an alternating basis. Children’s opinions can be taken into account whilst not putting them in a position where they are asked to choose particularly bearing in mind their age. Often parents hold two Christmas days, one being on Boxing Day which the children certainly don’t complain about!  If appropriate some parents chose to spend part of the day together with the children to see them open their presents

Often the Christmas school holidays are shared equally. Dependent on children’s ages and the family’s circumstances there are different ways that this can be achieved. Where parents live a distance apart, then there may be the opportunity to arrange contact for boxing day and several of the following days in one block, rather than having regular handovers. This is more suitable for older children. However for young children it may be that there is a need to see each parent for shorter times.  

Hopefully parents will be able to agree arrangements between them. If however it has not been possible to find a solution which both parents and children are happy with we are experienced and specialist family lawyers and will be able to advise and assist on options to move matters forward, help in negotiations and find a solution which allows all to have a happy holiday and provide a framework for the rest of the future year.

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