A time to share and care
Ann Hallmark, family solicitor with LCF Law, highlights tips to assist separated parents to organise the Christmas contact between children and parents.
C hristmas is traditionally a time for families to come together. However, for parents who are separating or divorcing, Christmas can be tough. For most parents, Christmas is all about making sure their children have a magical time and it is only fair that both parents get to enjoy spending time with their children over the Christmas period.
Christmas is laden with magical movies, most of which are based on the traditional Christmas with families spending time together. Most children will fantasise about their parents getting back together. If a child is denied the right to see a parent over Christmas, this could be damaging and such a memory could stay with them for many years to come.
A child loves each parent unconditionally.
- Plan in advance and communicate with the other parent. Do not ask your child to choose between parents.
- Do not leave making the arrangements and discussions with the other parent to the last minute, start considering Christmas arrangements early! Co-parenting is the key to a successful and stress free Christmas.
- Show the other parent the child’s gift list and if there is a main ‘big’ present, share the cost and give the present to your child as a ‘joint’ present from both Mum and Dad. As for other gifts, agree with the other parent as to which gifts you are both going to buy, it is not a competition!
- Ensure the children get to see extended family members – grandparents, aunties, uncles, etc.
- Do not argue with the other parent; put your children’s needs and emotions first before yours. They do not want to hear arguments so make sure handovers are civil.
Having a child binds you to your ex for life. Parents should be prepared to be creative and adjust to their new family life, and no one wants to have two lots of sprouts on Christmas Day.
Ann assists clients in relation to all family related matters including divorce and separation and related financial matters. She advises in all aspects of family breakdown including children issues.
Ann is a member of the Law Society’s Family Law Advanced Accreditation Scheme in matrimonial finances and private law children matters.