Arranging Christmas contact as divorced parents

In Features

Don't let disagreemnts over child contact stop you from having a great Christmas. 

When parents separate or divorce, the hardest thing is often working out what happens to the children.
 
With 42% or marriages in the UK ending in divorce, this is a problem that many separating couples face.
 
In a lot of cases, ex-couples will have an effective child contact arrangement in place for most of the year. But Christmas time can bring up unique difficulties.
 
Christmas is arguably the most important date in the British calendar, and there can be a lot of pressure for families to spend quality time together.
 
The problem for separated parents is that their children can’t be in two places at once. This can lead to disagreements over which parent gets to spend Christmas with their child.
 
However, it’s important to remember that families come in all shapes and sizes. With a bit of forward planning, there’s no reason why you can’t come to an arrangement that works for everyone over the festive period.
 

Plan ahead

 
One way to prevent disagreements about who gets the children at Christmas is to plan well in advance.
 
Have a conversation with your ex-partner earlier on in the year about what you would both like to happen. This will help identify any issues and give you enough time to find solutions without disrupting anyone’s enjoyment over the Christmas period.
 
Discussions can take place over text or email if you’re not comfortable speaking face to face.

 
Be prepared to compromise

 
Compromise is key. If you have an expectation of how Christmas should be, your ex-partner probably will have too.
 
One way to keep everyone happy might be for your children to split their time between two households. This could mean them spending Christmas morning with you and the afternoon with your ex. Or they could spend Christmas day with you and Boxing Day with your ex.
 
Any arrangement you reach could then be alternated each year.
 
 

Make sure you're happy

 
Don’t put pressure on yourselves to spend the day together just for the sake of the children. The happier the environment your children find themselves in on the day, the more they, and you, will enjoy it.
 
If you just can’t come to an agreement between yourselves, there are other avenues available. A family solicitor could help you come to an agreement or, alternatively, arrange for you to have a mediation session. If necessary, a solicitor could also get a court order made on your behalf.
 
Once you’ve decided on a plan, try not to make any last-minute changes. Remember that while it may not be the perfect scenario for everyone, you can all still have an enjoyable Christmas.
 
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Adam Rivers

Adam creates supportive, easy to read guides for The Law Superstore. He specialises in family law, helping people though divorce, child custody arrangements, and other relationship issues.

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