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Coping with Christmas: Top Tips for Separated Parents

View profile for Nicola Deakin
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With the shops starting to fill up with Christmas chocolate, mulled wine and bucks fizz, we cannot miss the fact that Christmas is fast approaching. 

For children whose parents are no longer living together, it is important to think ahead and begin considering the arrangements for Christmas, including when the children are to spend time with each parent/family unit over the Christmas holidays. Sorting out these arrangements can be difficult and stressful.

It is an unfortunate part of any relationship breakdown that children’s time over the Christmas holidays is shared between their parents but when it comes to spending time with your children, it is important to plan and try to agree the Christmas arrangements as early as possible to avoid issues arising over the Christmas period, thus allowing the children and parents to enjoy the holidays.  

Whilst you may have a plan as to how you envisage your time will be spent, it’s also important to consider the other parent’s wishes and importantly, consider what is best for the children.

We are often asked to assist parents with how such occasions such as this should be handled. Arrangements do vary from family to family, depending on what their Christmas holidays involve.

Our Top Tips:

When planning ahead we find that there are some top tips which help parents ensure that this time of year is enjoyable for everyone.

  1. Plan and discuss the arrangements for special occasions (such as Christmas) early. Try to work out arrangements for special occasions as far in advance as possible. This will help to avoid upset and uncertainty and will allow both parents to make plans.
  2. If they are old enough, ask the children what they would like to do, their wishes and views should be considered when making arrangements, particularly if you live some distance away from the other parent.
  3. Focus on what is best for the children, even if it means that you have to make sacrifices and compromise for the benefit of your children.
  4. Don’t allow upset and frustration with the other parent, or disappointment with the arrangements overshadow the time you spend with the children. Your time with the children is special.
  5. Don’t criticise the other parent in front of the children or allow other family members or friends to do so. It is important that the children are shielded from any adult conversations or conflict.

If you find yourself in the position that you are unable to discuss or agree arrangements for your children over Christmas or at any other time of the year, at Susan Howarth & Co. Solicitors, we have a wealth of experience in assisting and advising parents concerning children arrangements.  

We offer free initial consultations to all new clients, in which you can to discuss your concerns and allow us to provide you with options moving forward – to arrange yours, contact our offices on 01606 48777