Arrangements for children over Christmas

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Jennifer Peebles


Phone 01264 325823


This year’s festive period is a time like no other in our lives so far.

As families grapple with truly difficult decisions about where to spend the big day, who to invite and who to exclude, separated parents will also have the perennial question in mind: how much time will I get with the children?

COVID has added a new layer of complexity to whether the children should be with mum or dad on Christmas Day. Parents may have taken it in turns in recent years but this year may not be as straightforward. Household bubbles, self-isolation, vulnerable relatives, fears of asymptomatic transmission. These are all huge considerations for families, and we are seeing many parents agonising over what to do.

Another thing that COVID has prevented for some is an early decision about children’s movements over the Christmas period. We always advise separated parents to plan early for any holiday period; agree between themselves where their children will be on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day (and on the days before and after) and be fair, be reasonable, be prepared to compromise if need be. However many will, understandably, have adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach, with fingers firmly crossed for a far safer coronavirus climate by the time Christmas arrives. This has pushed planning to the wire, and with this has come pressures of having to reach agreement at quite short notice with a former partner who may not be all that cooperative.

Our advice is, as always, to try to agree plans between yourselves without having to resort to lawyers or the courts if possible. Remember that your children are at the heart of this.  This may be ‘your year’ but sticking rigidly to that may not work for your children or for the wider family this time. Equally, if you feel that the pattern of contact arrangements ought to shift this Christmas, think about the reasonableness of that and, in particular, ask yourself if it would be in your children’s best interests.

Each family’s situation is different; something that has become clearer than ever in the build-up to Christmas 2020. If you and your former partner can work through the plans together, with a view to doing the right thing for all - and for your children in particular – that should make for a happy and peaceful festive break.

For help in resolving any contact issues, or other Family Law matter, contact one of our specialist solicitors on or 01264 353411. We would be happy to help you.

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