With it only being September, it seems ludicrous to already be talking about Christmas, but it will soon be upon us. For many separated families, this can mean stress and anxiety surrounding who the children will spend time with, how long for, spending time with extended families etc. If not approached correctly and with sensitivity, this can cause tensions that risk spilling over into the holiday festivities.
As a starting point, it is important to ensure that both parents get to spend some quality time with the children over Christmas and these arrangements are always best organised well in advance.
First Christmas after the separation:
If this is your first Christmas following your separation, be prepared for things to feel difficult. Your first Christmas without your spouse and your children can raise up some emotions you’ve never had to deal with before. Understand that this is your new normal and find ways of coping that work for you. Do not be afraid to ask for support from family and friends during this time.
How time will be spent:
Compromise is key; it is important to find a way that ensures that everyone gets some of what they want. This doesn’t mean that both you and your ex will have to split everything down to the middle, but quality time with the children should be the focus of both parents. Consider whether the proposal that you put forward as to how time should be spent with the children is one which you would be happy to adhere to the following year especially, if that proposal favours in terms of getting more quality time this year.
Do not be last minute - communicate early
Sorting arrangements out sooner rather than later will ensure that things are more likely to run smoothly. Try to communicate months in advance with your ex- partner and each party should try to keep in mind the fact that it is essentially about the best interests of the children.
Make it stress free
Ensure that handovers remain as calm as possible. The children should know who they are spending time with, on which days and how long for. It is important to give the children time to adjust to this ‘new normal’ and be ready to face ups and downs with their emotions. The important thing to bear in mind is that you are separated from your spouse for a reason and working out this particular adjustment - is all part of the bigger picture.
If you find that discussions with your ex are just too difficult, Holmes & Hills LLP can help to negotiate on your behalf to ensure that an agreement can be reached on an amicable basis. We can also advise you with regards to the law, and whether the proposals you are putting forward are reasonable and would be endorsed by a Court.
Holmes & Hills Solicitors offer an initial appointment with a specialist Family Law solicitor for £105 +VAT. This time allows a solicitor to fully understand your current position and your family situation. We can provide support and legal advice and guidance, and can advise you as to the steps and options available to you.
Once the arrangements are sorted, you can concentrate on enjoying your Christmas.