In these strange times, there will be some of us who are looking forward to Christmas. A time when families (can hopefully) get together and celebrate the season of goodwill.
Sadly, for some, it can be the total opposite. This can be the case for separated families where one parent does not have the opportunity to spend quality time with their children at this special part of the year.
In this post, our family law experts provide their advice on Christmas after divorce or separation, and will be happy to work with you to overcome any related problems you might encounter this Christmas trying to gain access to your children.
There Are No Specific Legal Provisions Relating to Children and Christmas
According to the laws of England and Wales, there are currently no specific legal provisions in place relating to providing both parents of a child with access to their children during the Christmas period.
An agreement will need to be made by both parents and, if this proves unsuccessful, then an application needs to be made for a Court Order.
Negotiating an Agreement
We always recommend that the parents of a child should try to come to an agreement as early as possible to minimise any potential confusion or conflict with individual plans that might be arranged for Christmas.
Thankfully, many parents realise the significance of this magical time of the year for their children and will make an arrangement that is the best interests of all.
Ultimately, the resident parent (the primary caregiver) will have the final say when negotiating such an agreement.
Parents could consider having their child on Christmas Eve and until lunchtime on Christmas Day, and then he/she goes to the other parent for the rest of the day, or you alternate who the child spends Christmas with one year and then swap for the following.
Reaching an Amicable Agreement Does Not Always Work
We are only too aware that sometimes parents cannot come to an agreement. What was intended to be an amicable discussion ends in arguments and a deterioration in an already strained relationship.
Here at Howells, we can help you arrange time with your children by writing to your estranged spouse/ex-partner or by applying to Court to deal with these arrangements.
Child Contact Disputes
When parents cannot agree to a mutual agreement, our advice would be to initially try mediation; an independent trained professional will work with both parents to try to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties.
If mediation does not work, then you will need to go down the legal route and make an application to Court for a Child Arrangement Order. A Judge will then consider and review the cases presented by both parents and make a ruling, which will provide specific arrangements for special events including Christmas and birthdays.
Speak to Our Family Law Team
It is important to remember that, if you find yourself in this situation and you are being prevented from seeing your children at Christmas, you can seek professional advice to find a solution.
If you’re having a problem with an ex-partner and the stress of sorting out arrangements for Christmas is getting too much, then please contact us today.
We can help you discuss child arrangements and come to an agreement on custody and access that suits all parties, with the children’s best interests at heart. Give us a call and we can help you organise a Christmas that eve