Christmas can be a difficult time for separated parents, especially when going through the first Christmas after separation.

Resolution are a group of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way. Resolution found that two thirds of parents surveyed felt that they lacked advice on how to have a child-focused separation, and that relationships between separated parents had become even more strained during the pandemic.

Resolution has a guide on parenting through separation which can be found here.

The guide contains useful information to help separated parents find constructive ways to ensure that children are not impacted negatively by the separation. Christmas can be especially difficult, as it will usually involve choosing to spend Christmas with one parent, and it can be difficult to decide how time is divided. Some of the key points in Resolution’s guide include the way that parents behave in front of the children, emphasizing the importance of trying to keep conversations neutral and focussed on arrangements for the child.

Listening to a child and taking their feelings into account is also very important, as Resolution reports that children tell professionals their parents are not good at listening to them. There is a balance to be struck because it might be that one parent provided more of the care than the other whilst they were together, and therefore the child may prefer to spend time with that parent. This could cause difficulties around Christmas because the child may want to spend more time with one parent over the other, and it is important to listen to the child’s wishes but also to ensure that both parents spend good quality time with the child over the holidays.

Blended families are another element in play around Christmas, and it is important to recognise the importance of seeing this new family unit in a positive light, reducing the need for children to feel as though they have to take sides. There are different methods of achieving agreements about parenting arrangements and where the child will spend important times of the year such as holidays. These methods include mediation and collaborative law services, and courses available through CAFCASS such as the Separated Parents Information Program.

All of our family law team at Lupton Fawcett are able to assist you in the event that you are facing challenges navigating child arrangements during the Christmas period, Three of our solicitors, Christopher Burns, Andrew Smith, and Richard Buckley, are all members of Resolution. Richard is also a Collaborative Lawyer and a Mediator. If you would like to hear more about our family law, mediation, and collaborative law offerings, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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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