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Separation and children help from Humhries Kirk

Arrangements for your children over the festive period

| Published on November 10, 2015

Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for some parents who have separated, and it is a highly emotive topic when both parties want to spend time with their children during the festive period.

It might seem a little too early to discuss the arrangements for your children, but now is the time for separated parents to decide their personal arrangements regarding provisions for their kids.

Hopefully, most parents who have separated will be able to discuss their Christmas plans with their former partner in a sensible and timely manner, so that when school finishes everybody knows the dates, times and arrangements. Unfortunately, there will be some parents who are unable to agree.

If you believe that problems could arise when attempting to sort Christmas arrangements, it is better to broach the subject now, well in advance, so that the issues can be worked through sooner rather than later.  If you can, speak to your former partner, discuss matters, agree the arrangements and then confirm these in writing to include details of which parent is picking up the children, at what time, the venue, and all the details of the arrangements for the festive period.

If you are unable to discuss matters, then set out your proposals for the arrangements in a letter or e-mail, including collection and pick-up times, and the venues for Christmas. Allow a reasonable time for a response and be prepared to be flexible over the arrangements. This will help the negotiations with your former partner.

If contact cannot be agreed there are options:-

  • A formal letter from a solicitor could be sent, these are less easily ignored;
  • Mediation is another route, or if both have solicitors, a meeting with both parties and their solicitors can be a faster, more efficient and cost effective way of resolving issues; or
  • Ultimately, court proceedings, although they are a more costly and time consuming route and should be the last resort.  It also has to be remembered that there are no guarantees in litigation and, therefore, you may not get the contact that you want.

What should be clear is that Christmas is about the children and their needs and, in most cases, time will be split between both parents so that children can enjoy the festive season with both. So if you have not yet organised your Christmas arrangements, we would encourage you to consider them sooner rather than later.