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Parenting apart: Christmas contact arrangements

Where a separated couple have children, difficulties may arise agreeing a contact routine. Making arrangements for Christmas can be a particularly emotional and difficult process. There are certain points to observe to ensure that Christmas is the best possible experience for the children:-

  • The happiness and wellbeing of the children are the priority. Parents’ emotions and wishes are secondary.
  • The best possible arrangement is for the parents to each spend some time with their children on Christmas Day. It is also of huge benefit to the children of separated parents, to observe their parents being courteous with each other.
  • Children should not be in a position where they feel they have to decide between “mum or dad”. The decision should be made for them, and it is important for children to realise that such a decision is agreed by their parents. For older children, their views may be sought, and must be listened to, but under no account should children become involved in any argument between parents.
  • Discuss Christmas gifts. There may be an expensive gift where both parents contribute to the cost. Otherwise, there may be discussion on which parent is to give which present.
  • Other close relatives, with whom the children have a special relationship, perhaps grandparents, should also be taken into account when agreeing arrangements.

The solicitors within our Family Team are all committed to sympathetic negotiation and the avoidance of confrontation wherever possible.

For further information, please contact Alasdair Docwra.

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