Child Contact This Christmas: Remember The Children


With the Christmas period fast approaching, many separated parents will be concerned with when and how they will spend time with their children over the festive period. Parents often focus on how they want to spend their Christmas as opposed to seeing things from the child's point of view.

Making arrangements in good time is a great way to put your children first over the holidays

Often separated parents views differ and our Family Lawyers see many instances where a parent does not wish to even think of a situation where their child will not wake up with them on Christmas morning or be with them for Christmas dinner. However, such an entrenched position can often result in the child being unable to spend such valuable time with the other parent, who the child also loves dearly. This can leave the child feeling torn between two warring parents and also sad that they do not have the opportunity to share such special moments with the absent parent.

Melanie Webb, specialist Family and Matrimonial Solicitor from Simpson Millar, suggests that both parents should put their child's best interests and wishes at the forefront of their minds when determining how they will spend their holidays. Melanie urges parents not to ignore the children's wishes and feelings and no matter how difficult, to involve the other parent in all arrangements and do so as early as possible so that everyone is aware, not least the child, of what the arrangements will be in good time. The children and parents can then look forward to the Christmas holidays being well aware of the arrangements that have been made.

In order to assist with this difficult issue, Melanie offers some practical tips for parents to consider before making arrangements to see the children over Christmas:

  • 1. Consider in advance where the Children would prefer to spend Christmas day and what is in their best interests. Some people believe the children should see both parents on Christmas Day, but if that will involve the children eating two Christmas dinners or being rushed off when they are enjoying playing with their new toys, is that really in the child's best interests?

  • 2. If the children will not be spending Christmas day with you, consider whether you can celebrate Christmas on Boxing Day with them instead, which will enable the child to have a double celebration. Although this may not be your preferred option, it is guaranteed that the children will thoroughly enjoy having two Christmas celebrations.

  • 3. If you do not get the opportunity to see the children on Christmas Day, ensure arrangements are alternated so that the children are able to spend Christmas Day with you next year.

  • 4. Often, parents like to celebrate New Year with the children and so it can be a compromise for one parent to celebrate Christmas with the children and the other to celebrate New Year. Think about whether you would like to see the New Year in with the children if you did not get to see them on Christmas morning.
Melanie believes that any arrangements you make should be a compromise between both parents, with the children's feelings always at the forefront of your mind. If your ex-partner is not willing to compromise, you may need to take legal advice on your options to ensure that these problems do not occur again next year.

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