Home / Carving up Christmas
6th November 2023
Associate Ayesha Griffin gives some tips on how to co-parent this festive season.
If you have separated this year, you may be navigating your way through co-parenting apart for the first time this upcoming holiday season. You might have it all figured out with a carefully drawn-up parenting plan for every occasion, or you might just be taking each occasion, or even week, as it comes.
For children who celebrate Christmas, it can be the most exciting and magical time of the year. As parents, it is a joy to experience this time of wonder through our children’s eyes. You are likely to want to throw the usual rules for how contact is managed week by week (or even during regular school holidays) out of the window during this period.
It is likely that you had holiday traditions as a family unit, and now is a time when new traditions are on the horizon. Carving up time during this period can be a difficult conversation for co-parents to have. A calm discussion is always a great starting point where possible and can centre on what is most important to you, your co-parent, and your children.
Common options include:
Whilst the need to adjust to some change is inevitable, it is important to ensure that the children are not unduly impacted by the change to the family dynamic. As parents, you can assist with this by:
Sometimes, it can be more difficult than you might like to discuss and agree arrangements and it might be necessary to involve a third party to help you and your co-parent with this. The first port of call for disagreements in matters relating to children should always be mediation (where it is safe to engage). As solicitors, we can help with negotiating, drafting and fine-tuning parenting plans (to cover all occasions), assist in disputes where mediation has been unsuccessful or was not appropriate, and as a last resort we can guide you through the court process for determining child arrangements when all other routes have broken down.