The Christmas tree lights are twinkling, darker nights drawing in, icy mornings, everyone is preparing for the Christmas holidays and feeling festive.

But for the family courts and family law solicitors, this time of year is extremely busy. Sadly, as solicitors we frequently deal with applications to court in the final few days before Christmas to try and help a family resolve the arrangements for a non-resident parent to see their child.

But there are ways to avoid this. This blog sets out some hints and tips about organising contact arrangements over Christmas:

  1. Christmas is for children – although as adults we have as much fun as the kids, remember that whatever arrangements you make you MUST think about what is best for your child NOT YOU (the adult).


  1. Christmas is not just one day – okay, yes it is always the 25th December but there is the excitement of Christmas Eve when you leave out Santa his mince pie, milk and a carrot for Rudolph and on Boxing Day when you eat leftover turkey and play with all those toys. For children at school, Christmas is their whole 2 week holiday! This means you have plenty of days to arrange for your child to see their other parent or grandparent etc.


  1. I recall a few Christmases ago listening to a girl called the local radio station after Christmas to tell them what the best thing she got for Christmas was. She was 8 years old. Her best Christmas was spending Christmas day with her mum then doing Christmas all over again on Boxing day with her dad and getting two lots of presents! (see Point 1 above!). It is all about your children.


  1. Be organised – do not leave it until 23rd December to try and sort something out. Otherwise you and your child will be very upset. Make arrangements as soon as possible – ideally September or October. This means if you need assistance from a solicitor or Judge there is time to resolve it without much less stress.


  1. Alternate arrangements – sadly, someone may always be unhappy. But what you do one year could be alternated the next year and so forth. And of course, there are 24 hours in a day – enough time to share the goodwill with your children and both parents. Remember Point 1 above!

Christmas is such an emotive time for separated families but it does not have to be. Be kind and considerate, realistic, put aside differences for one day and allow your children to experience the magic of Christmas with each parent.

Farleys Solicitors’ family law department can provide advice on a range of matters including divorce and separation and child matters. To speak to an experienced family lawyer today please call 0845 287 0939, complete our online contact form, or use the chat button below.