A guide to managing Christmas and child custody

Being a divorced or separated parent can be extra challenging at Christmas. But there are ways you can make sure that everything is as calm as possible so that you all enjoy the festive period.

  • Remember your focus should always be on your children and what’s best for them. Even if circumstances mean that you can’t do everything exactly as you’d like to – make sure you encourage them to have the best Christmas and enjoy themselves wherever they are and whoever they’re with.
  • If you have a custody arrangement with your ex partner/spouse and you decide to change the arrangements – make sure that both parties are in agreement before taking any action.
  • Make sure all arrangements regarding pick-up and drop off times are clear to both parties. This makes sure there’s no confusion about who your child/children should be with and at what time.
  • Communication between you and your ex partner/spouse is key. This will avoid unnecessary upheaval for your child/children. Most Courts will decide that holidays are divided equally between parents but if you can reach an amicable agreement without going to Court, it’s obviously better for everyone involved. At the end of the day, you should both consider what’s best for your child/children.
  • Remember – if you’re happy, your children will be happy! Make the most of any time with your child/children. Don’t focus on the negative aspect of not having them with you all the time.
  • It’s not always about being with your child/children on Christmas Day. If it’s not your turn, celebrate on another day – after all, if handled correctly, most children will love having two Christmases!
  • If you have to travel make sure you always do it in a safe manner. Don’t do anything that would put you or your child/children at risk.
  • You don’t have to miss out on old family traditions. But if you feel you need to move away from what you did when you were all together as a family, why not make new ones? Get your child/children involved and let them decide what new traditions to make!

We hope you find this guidance useful and that you have an enjoyable Christmas whatever your circumstances. Remember to stay positive and enjoy the festive period with your children as much as you can.

And if you need any legal help, our family solicitor Lisa Cogger is available for you.

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