Peace and goodwill at Christmas – advice for parents who are separated

24th November 2021


There’s great emphasis on Christmas being ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, a time when families come together to celebrate the festivities.

Having said that, for some, Christmas can sometimes be a far cry from the idyllic vision we all have.

December is often very busy with activities such as school productions, family gatherings and family traditions, so for parents who are going through a separation or divorce, deciding who is present at these events can be difficult, especially if relationships are not amicable.  

Irrespective of the time of year, any arguments or problems between parents should be put aside when arranging shared time with children.

Communication and forward planning are key, try to agree arrangements in advance. Having an agreed schedule will be beneficial for children so they know where they will be and when. It will allow each parent to plan events and days out. Seeing their parents working together sends a positive message to the children, giving them the emotional reassurance, they need to enjoy their time with each parent and their respective families.

No two families are the same, every family has different traditions so it’s important that children feel part of them with both families. Christmas Day and Boxing Day can be split, some parents agree Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with one parent and the other parent having New Year’s Eve and New Year's Day.

It may be that children are of an age where they can make their own decisions, however it’s important they are not influenced by how one parent feels towards the other or put under any undue pressure. Children should not be emotionally persuaded into spending more time with one parent than the other and parents should never act in spite. If children are finding it difficult to come to terms with the separation, they should not form part of the discussions.

Negotiations should always take in account the children's best interests. It is much better if parents work together and create an amicable agreement. If this is not possible, they could consider attending mediation or alternatively approaching a solicitor who can deal with matters on their behalf.

If arrangements are made through open and meaningful discussions, it is likely that both parents will have a much more relaxed, enjoyable Christmas period with their children.

If you need any advice or assistance regarding arrangements for your children, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 590019.

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