Christmas is a time for families to celebrate together and enjoy the festive season.

However for separated parents Christmas can be a difficult and stressful time. Disputes can often occur between separated parents when trying to arrange contact with their children over the festive period. It is therefore important to consider what you can do in order avoid any conflict.

Here are Lupton Fawcett family law team’s top tips for a separated family over Christmas:

  • It is helpful to make plans ahead of the Christmas period so both you and your ex-partner know when you will see your children over Christmas to avoid any stress or anxiety.
  • Planning Christmas contact can help avoid last minute changes in plans and allow you to make other plans such as visiting relatives.
  • It is your decision as to how you arrange contact, whether you decide to alternate Christmas day each year or you agree to split the festive period between you and your ex-partner, it is important that you come to an agreement which works for everyone.
  • Try to communicate in an amicable and fair manner when organising contact arrangements and avoid using unpleasant language that may cause upset.
  • If you are in disagreement with your ex-partner about any suggested contact try to come to a compromise.
  • Consider asking relatives for help with handover arrangements to avoid any difficult meetings with your ex-partner.
  • Make sure that the children’s needs are at the centre of any plans you make and you put your own feelings to one side. It is important that the children enjoy the Christmas period with both parents and do not feel disrupted by the arrangements.
  • Consider making arrangements that are most appropriate to the child’s circumstances (e.g. their age and where both parents live) and which cause the least amount of disruption.
  • If the children are old enough, tell them about the plans so that they know what is going to happen and feel comfortable with the routine.
  • Once a plan is made it is important that you keep to what has been agreed and ensure that everyone is clear on the timings and dates to avoid any uncertainty and to promote stability for the children.

If you require assistance with child contact arrangements this Christmas, please contact Andrew Smith in our York office, Chris Burns  in our Leeds office or Richard Buckley in our Sheffield office.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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