Our advice is that now is the time to address this issue. Christmas is probably the most emotive time of the year and can be stressful if you are separated and trying to agree with whom your children will wake up with on Christmas morning and when each parent will spend time with the children.
You may still live in the same property or you may have separated and live close by. In either case it may be possible to each spend time with the children on the special days. An added difficulty in coming to an agreement may be where you live some distance apart and sharing the day just isn’t feasible. With the added difficulty of Covid-19 this brings complications as to what you legally can and cannot do in terms of family and other social gatherings.
If at all possible it is far better to try and work together and come to some compromise together, to ensure that your children can enjoy time over the festive season in a conflict free environment and without worrying whether mum or dad is ok or whether they are going to fight at handovers. Arrangements and discussions must be child focussed – what arrangement would benefit the children most, not what would benefit either parent the most.
If you are struggling to talk to each other or communicate in a neutral manner, we suggest that you consider engaging a family mediator to help come to an agreement and perhaps assist you in drawing up a parenting plan so that you can agree a template of arrangements to assist you to move forward. Even where you can come to agreement between yourselves, entering the agreement into a parenting plan, may be a useful exercise. Copies of such plans can be found on the CAFCASS website where there is a wealth of associated and very helpful guidance and information https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-ups/parents-and-carers/divorce-and-separation/parenting-plan/
Here at Barnes Clark Family Law, we offer an accredited mediation service, run my Sally Clark, who is a highly experienced accredited Child Inclusive Family Mediator.
If you are unable to agree matters and mediation is not suitable or is unsuccessful, we strongly advise you to seek specialist legal advice. Our Solicitors at Barnes Clark Family Law can assist with this. They can provide specialist advice and guidance to assist with your matter and will try and help you come to a resolution in a cost effective and amicable way.
For further information, or to arrange an appointment with either our mediator or one of our solicitors, please contact us on 01274 861096 (Liversedge) or 01423 637272 (Harrogate) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that we offer a free half an hour consultation.