The festive season is upon us. As a parent you most likely have a list as long as your arm of things to get done.  Such as, making sure you’re free to attend your child’s Christmas play; desperately ‘googling’ Elf on the Shelf ideas; getting those few last minute (who am I kidding – your entire list of) Christmas presents!

What if, to add to your to-do list, was to try and agree with your ex partner the arrangements for your child or children to spend time with each of you at Christmas?

This is certainly something you want to be ticking off your list as early as possible. Whilst mediation and, as a very last resort, court proceedings may be necessary in the absence of reaching an agreement, don’t leave it too late. This time of year is a very busy time for us family lawyers, for the mediation services, and for the Courts.

To try and avoid a disagreement here are some helpful tips and things to remember:

Christmas is about children

They will want to see both parents and share Christmas with each of them and their families. Fight the urge to want them all to yourself. Children love sharing the magic of Christmas and those lovely board games with all of their family.

Think ahead to next Christmas

Arrangements can be alternated so that the parent who did not get to spend Christmas morning waking up with the children this year will be able to do so the following year. Also, Christmas isn’t just the one day. Children with separated parents are often excited at the prospect of having two Christmases. I would be. Christmas is the entire experience as far as the child is concerned. This includes the two weeks off school and the weeks leading up to Christmas. Make those weeks about the children and as fun as possible. This leads me to my next point…

Be organised and communicate positively

Be specific with the arrangements so that you can each make plans to make the most of the time with the children and your families. Be focused and pleasant in your communications with one another on the arrangements to be made and have your child or children in mind. Think about what is best for them. If you speak negatively about each other, especially in their presence, this will inevitably impact upon your child.

Put your differences to one side

Whatever has happened between you in your relationship and whatever agreement you eventually reach, leave to one side your issues with one another. Let your child or children enjoy the fun and festivities of Christmas with both their parents. Let it be about them.

So don’t start the festive season off under a cloud. Start planning now.

If you need us we are here to help. Our Family Law Team at Farleys can provide specialist assistance and advice in relation to disputes concerning children and also regarding separation and divorce.  Contact us on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.