• Whilst Christmas is traditionally a time for families to spend time together, children of separated parents can find this time of year rather difficult. There are no hard and fast rules about who children should spend time with at Christmas, although it is generally accepted that children should spend time with both parents over the Christmas period. If both parents have parental responsibility and there are no court orders in place, then neither parent has greater rights than the other. Therefore the arrangements for the children should be made and agreed between parents.

    Our clients often ask whether Christmas Day should be divided in half or whether children should spend time with one parent one year and then with the other parent the next year. Unfortunately, there is not one solution that fits all. Where there is no court order in place, or where a court order does not deal with Christmas arrangements, arrangements will generally be different depending on the needs of individual families. It is important for parties to focus on the impact of arrangements on the children and consider that, whilst in some instances shared arrangements may be suitable when separated parents live near to each other, where parents live further away, shared arrangements may cause too much disruption for the children.

    If you are unable to agree on arrangements, it may be that the advice of a solicitor may assist you in putting forward your position to try and agree the arrangements beforehand. Solicitors can also assist to facilitate arrangements for the future and are able to advise on a breadth of options to reach an agreement to include a range of alternative dispute resolution options, negotiations through solicitors or assistance through the court process.

    If you are yet to make arrangements to spend time with your children over the Christmas period, it is not too late to seek advice from our experienced team of solicitors. Please contact us to arrange an appointment.

    This content is correct at time of publication

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