We are now just 10 days away from Christmas. However, a recent survey undertaken for “Action for Children” revealed that 1 in 6 parents want to cancel Christmas! With the Covid vaccine not being fully available, the added issues of working out “Christmas bubbles” and the financial strain – it is understandable why people are thinking this way.
However, the Covid arrangements which will be in place over the Christmas period do not impact on arrangements between separated parents. Throughout lockdown, the government, and latterly, the family court, have been clear that children can still move between separated parents. This is an area which can often lead to disputes.
With this in mind, and with many solicitor’s offices remaining closed over the Christmas holiday period, and the courts operating on a limited schedule, it is important to avoid disputes and to reach arrangements now. Obviously when approaching any proposed arrangement, it is important that parents aim to work together to reach agreement. A good starting point is for parents to consider the Court’s approach in that it is a child’s right to have a meaningful relationship with both of parents. Any agreement needs to be in the best interests of the child.
Sometimes this can mean a child spending Christmas Eve to Christmas Day with one parent, and Christmas Day to Boxing Day with the other. For others, alternating these arrangements year by year may work better. Others may prefer the whole of Christmas Day to be spent with one parent, and the whole of Boxing Day with the other.
If an agreement cannot be reached between parents, a solicitor may need to be instructed who can assist to negotiate suitable arrangements.
Having a clear agreement in place over Christmas will help reduce stress so that parents can do what is most important – to spend time with their children.