Christmas is coming…..
So you have ordered the food for Christmas Day and the presents are bought but have you yet made the arrangements for your children? Christmas is far from an easy time of year, especially if you and your ex-partner are separated and you need to agree how the children are going to spend some time with everyone. Help is on hand though from the experienced solicitors at Brain Chase Coles who have a wide variety of ‘legal tools’ available for you and your family.
We know that Christmas can be a logistical nightmare with parents, siblings and extended family members all hoping to see each other as well as complicated plans to make for transporting the children or even when to eat Christmas lunch. Remember that there is no such thing as “normal arrangements” though and what is right for your children depends on them as individuals and the whole family.
Here are a few tips to consider:
- Would the children like to spend time on Christmas Day with everyone who is important to them or prefer to spend longer with each of these people across the whole festive period?
- How practical is it to transport the children between homes on Christmas Day itself? Should these transport arrangements be shared?
- Is Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day particularly important in your family? Perhaps the children could spend one of these days with the parent that they do not see on Christmas Day.
- What other commitments do the children have over Christmas which need to be taken into account?
- Don’t forget to look at the school holidays as a whole.
- And don’t leave it to the last minute to make the arrangements; nobody wants to be waiting for a last minute phone call from the other parent or even a solicitor before they make plans.
It is important to remember that it is what is best for your children that matters. A court’s paramount consideration would be what is in ‘their best interests’ and this is crucial guidance for you too. Most children, whatever their ages really enjoy having two Christmases, two trees, two Christmas dinners and of course two sets of presents (as Father Christmas knows your children have two homes). Christmas is all about spending quality time with family and friends and both sets of families should be considered.
Your starting point should always be to try and reach an agreement between yourselves. We recommend that you aim for a clear plan, preferably in writing (including a text or WhatsApp) containing all the practical details.
If this is not possible you may need assistance from a solicitor, mediator or the court. A court application for a Child Arrangements Order (previously a residence or contact order) is not always necessary though, and the solicitors at Brain Chase Coles will talk to you about all the possibilities.
If you require any help and support with sorting out Christmas arrangements this year, for next year or in between, contact Brain Chase Coles on 01256 354 481 or through our website at www.brainchasecoles.co.uk. More information about our services can be found on our website too.
Lastly, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Jennifer Lee, Family Solicitor