As many of you will have noticed the Christmas cards, wrapping paper and presents are creeping their way into the shops and supermarkets. Most of you would consider the beginning of October far too early to consider Christmas, and in terms of presents and ordering the Turkey for the Christmas dinner I would agree. However if you have recently separated, considering the arrangements for the children over the Christmas period as far in advance as possible will help to alleviate some of the stress linked to the festival period.
As most would agree, Christmas should be about the children. For many separated couples, arrangements are agreed between them amicably and in plenty of time. It is common for many to share the time equally and to have a routine for where the children are going and when. This ensures both parents can enjoy quality time with the children over the Christmas period. As with all arrangements for the children it is always better to decide on these yourselves; however in some cases these discussions are not possible. If this is the case you may wish to consider one of the following options:
Setting out in a letter your proposals for contact over the Christmas period including where possible, specific times for collection and return (assuming you cannot speak to the other parent directly). The other parent is likely to require some time to process your proposal and whether the arrangements can be agreed so allow them time to consider the matter.
If a response to your letter is not received or they do not agree you may wish to consider mediation or the assistance of a family solicitor to help you reach an agreement.
Court proceedings should always be a last resort; however if your ex partner is being particularly obstructive towards the idea of sharing the Christmas period court proceedings will ensure the matter is considered. The court process can be time consuming and therefore should be started in adequate time to obtain an order prior to Christmas.
If you are facing difficulties agreeing the arrangements for children during the Christmas period we would recommend an initial meeting with one of our family lawyers to discuss your proposals and the options available for moving forward. For more information about our fixed fee initial meetings please get in touch me today on 01908 304560 or speak to another member of our team of specialist family solicitors.