With the holiday period fast approaching,  have you and your ex agreed what the children will be doing over Christmas?

Often, separated parents agree to alternate the immediate Christmas period each year, with children spending Christmas Eve night to Christmas day with one parent and then boxing day with the other on alternating years. This allows a child to enjoy Christmas morning with both their parents as they are growing up and allows parents to share in the joy too.

Other parents agree to share Christmas day so that their children have time with one parent in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

What do children want? Many children have a very simple and overwhelming sense of fairness which means they feel it is right for them to spend Christmas with each of their parents, alternating in one of the ways suggested above.  But what children want most of all is the reassurance that whatever the arrangements are, their parents have agreed them and are not arguing about it.

What, in our experience are the most important things for parents to do when it comes to deciding the Christmas arrangements?

  • Communicate suggestions and concerns well in advance.  Don’t leave it to the last minute.  We suggest arrangements should be agreed well in advance of your children finishing school for the Christmas break.
  • Think about the logistics of where your children need to be and when- if there is a long journey between their parent’s homes, is it best for this to be done either side of the immediate Christmas period so that your children feel they have had a settled time with one of their parents.
  • If you can’t agree, consider whether mediation might help you discuss opposing views and reach an agreement.
  • Can you agree a pattern which works each year so that you can tell your children about this and they know what is going to happen every Chrsitmas.