Making arrangements for children to spend quality time with both parents at Christmas or other special occasions can cause tension and conflict between separated parents. Both parents will be eager to spend time with their children on special occasions such as Christmas but attempting to agree this in advance can cause arguments.
What can be really helpful is for parents to make sure they have a plan in advance. It can be additional stress when trying to organise arrangements only a matter of days or weeks in advance. Parents can often reach arrangements that alternate year to year, for example one year one parent has Christmas Day and other Boxing Day and then vice versa the following year. Children can often be pleased that they get to have two Christmases!
Parents are encouraged to try and reach an agreement between themselves however if communication between parents fail then there a few options available to assist. Instructing a family solicitor may help you negotiate an agreement through correspondence. Alternatively, if you have left sufficient time before the special occasion, parties may wish to attend mediation. Both parties attend meetings with a neutral mediator who would help you negotiate. It can be quick and cost effective.
Once an agreement has been reached it can be best to inform the children so that they know what to expect and do not worry themselves.
Court proceedings should always be a last resort as they can be costly and also time consuming.
If you would like further advice on contact arrangements for children then you can contact the Family Team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01243790532