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Christmas is traditionally a time to spend with the family and friends. It’s the season of goodwill but unfortunately this isn’t always the case for separated families and their children.

Richard Scott, partner at Howells Solicitors provides his advice about how parents can work together to make sure all involved are able to enjoy the festive period.

Christmas can be an incredibly stressful time for separated families. Agreed arrangements that work well for all throughout the rest of the year can go out of the window when school plays, carol concerts, trips to the Pantomime etc all come into play. Who takes who where? Who has the pleasure of watching the children’s faces light up on Christmas Day morning when Father Christmas has come?

Negotiations regarding access to the children over Christmas can be fraught, tense and result in disagreements and arguments.

Mr Scott recommends that wherever possible, negotiations start as early as possible so all involved including the children are able to have their say so Christmas can be planned and enjoyed by all.

Richard’s Recommendations:

  • Communicate with the other parent 

Dont leave discussing Christmas plans to the last minute. Plan ahead with the other parent as soon as possible in advance.  

  • Ask your children what they want to do?

What do your children want to do over Christmas? Ask and listen to them and try to incorporate their thoughts into your plans with the other parent.

  • Try not to go OTT! 

Try to avoid trying to ‘buy’ your children with ‘better’ presents that their other parent. It’s not a competition and as the old saying goes, ‘money can’t buy love’. If possible discuss gift ideas with the other parent so the children get presents they want and don’t get two of the same or feel embarrassed about telling the other what they had.  

  • Older children might want to make their own decisions?

As your children get older, they may want to have their own say in what they do for Christmas, and might want to do their own thing as well.

  • Try to be flexible

There are often so many events taking place. Try to be as flexible as you can with the other parents plans. 

If unfortunately you are unable to come to a suitable agreement with the other parent, you can consider making an application to the court but this should be a last resort.

The court will encourage you to try again to reach an agreement that is in the best interests of the children and ultimately if you are still unable to do this, a ruling will be made by the court.

Carers of all ages throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf attended an event hosted by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Carers Support Project at Mountain Ash Golf Club on Friday, November 30th, to celebrate Carers Rights Day.

Alison Huggins, a Wills, Probate & Asset Protection Solicitor from Howells Solicitors addressed the carers providing advice on a comprehensive range of legal subjects that might affect them including Lasting Power of Attorney, Wills, Court of Protection and many more including the topical issue regarding Care Home Fees.

“This is the third year Howells Solicitors has been invited to attend the RCT National Carers Day event,” explained Mrs Huggins. “We aim to provide as much general advice as possible during the presentation and then meet with any Carers that want to speak with us about specific issues relating to them afterwards.”

Mrs Huggins continued, “Carers provide an incredibly important role in society. Carers UK, estimate that carers save the economy £119 billion per year, an average of £18,743 per carer. We provide a comprehensive range of services that benefit both the carer and those they care for and welcome the opportunity to provide free advice at events such as this one organised by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Carers Support Project.”


by Tristan Lewis

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