10th December 2019
10th December 2019
Every year, Christmas comes round and so does the stress and struggles that come with it. Arrangements for your children should not be one of the issues that arise when you are separated or divorced but rather the focus should be on creating positive memories for your child/children to remember.
To ensure that you have a splendid time over the festive period, our lawyers, Andrea Hewitson, Amanda Adeola, Leanne Walker, Laura Cousen, Ruby Knapton and Trevor Gay have each given one piece of advice to assist you in putting the needs of your child/children first.
1. Andrea Hewitson says, “The Christmas period can be a very difficult time for separated parents. It is always important for children and adults to be able to remember Christmas for all the right reasons. Communication between parents is essential throughout a child’s minority but especially between separated parents at particular times of the year with Christmas being one of them. Any arguments or difficulties between parents need to be out to one side when arranging shared time with children over the festive period. Children’s needs always must take priority over that of an adult however difficult for parents that might be. Depending on the age of a child it may be appropriate to ask them what they want.
It is much better if parents together can reach agreements but if not they could consider attending mediation or alternatively approaching a solicitor who can deal with matters on their behalf. Parents may consider using the Collaborative process to reach agreements. It is always important to try and make arrangements as early as possible.
2. Amanda Adeola says, “We know it is not easy and as lawyers we see this time and time again becoming an issue and causing great difficulties so my advice is agree the arrangements before hand and do not leave it too late. This will be good for your child/children to know where they will be and when and it will allow each of you to plan with your respective families making the holidays enjoyable for everyone. It will also be good for your child/children to see that their parents are working together as this will give them the emotional reassurance they need to enjoy their time with each parent”.
3. Leanne Walker says, “The Christmas period can be a very testing time, and the pressure often mixed with alcohol can often push people to breaking point. Please ensure that children do not witness arguments and negative comments, and remember that there is no excuse for abusive behaviour.”
4. Trevor Gay says, “Christmas is a magical time of the year for children. There is the relief of having a few weeks off school and the excitement of seeing friends and family, but really the anticipation of the presents they may receive!
The hopes of what Christmas may bring are no different for the children of parents who have divorced or separated, yet lingering there in the background will be the worry of who they are going to spend Christmas with. It is nearly impossible to have a perfect Christmas, but very easy to ruin it for everyone, especially the children.
Is any argument, handover or extra hour really worth not having upsetting the ones Christmas is really about?
5. Laura Cousen says, “It is important not to compare this Christmas with how Christmas was before separation. Change can be positive. Communication and compromise between the parties is key and discussions need to be had as early as possible about how the festive time should be shared. Christmas is all about the children, so it's important for children to enjoy time with both parents and extended family. Christmas can also be a lonely time for some people and if you are feeling this way, remember to speak up.
6. Ruby Knapton says, “Try not to compete with each other in relation to gifts for your child/children. Often separated parents will try and outdo one another in terms of obtaining their child/children’s affection but this should not be the case. It would be better if you can try and discuss the presents and what you are each getting and agree as much as possible ahead of time.”
We wish you all an enjoyable Christmas with your families, however, if you need any advice or assistance regarding arrangements for your children, please do not hesitate to contact us at any of our offices. Our lawyers are members of Resolution and believe in putting children first during separation/divorce.
"To ensure that you have a splendid time over the festive period, our lawyers, Andrea Hewitson, Amanda Adeola, Leanne Walker, Laura Cousen, Ruby Knapton and Trevor Gay have each given one piece of advice to assist you in putting the needs of your child/children first."