At this time of year thoughts are turning towards Christmas and for most separated...Back to News and Events
At this time of year thoughts are turning towards Christmas and for most separated parents, the potential issues around Christmas contact arrangements. If you think that spending time with your children over the Christmas period is going to be a cause for concern, now is the time to act.
If you don’t have an Order in place at the moment then your former partner may decide that you aren’t going to be spending time with the children this year and if you choose to wait much longer to resolve this, there might be little that can be done about it in time for this Christmas.
Initially it is always better to try and communicate with one another and if the child is old enough speak to them about what they want to happen. The aim should be to try and reach an agreement well in advance that works for everyone and is in the best interests of the children.
If this isn’t possible because the lines of communication are too badly damaged or there may be a reason why you are prevented from or cannot face speaking to the other parent, then now is the time to get some advice from a Solicitor.
Here at Poole Alcock we can write to the other parent, setting out your proposals for contact arrangements at Christmas. Some parents choose to share Christmas day with one parent enjoying time with the child from Christmas Eve through to part-way through Christmas day, such as noon. The other parent is then able to enjoy Christmas dinner and evening with the child, with handover again on Boxing day.
Other parents don’t want a handover to encroach on Christmas day and the child would then effectively have two Christmases, with the one parent on Christmas day and the other parent celebrating on Boxing day. The expectation of the Courts is generally that these arrangements should alternate each year, so that the children are able to enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with both parents during their lives.
If arrangements still can’t be agreed, it may be appropriate to make a referral to mediation, however depending upon your circumstances you may be able to claim an exemption.
If you have attended mediation, or you are exempt then the next step would be to make an urgent application to Court. The Court would consider all of the circumstances of the case, with the paramount consideration being the welfare of the child.
If you are worried that you won’t be able to spend time with your children this Christmas, contact one of our offices across Cheshire to book a free advice appointment with on of our family law specialists to discuss your options.