Often we experience excitement and anticipation in the lead up to Christmas, however for those who have recently separated it can be a tricky time of year. We have recently experienced an influx of questions regarding arrangements for Christmas and provide the following information for you to consider.
If you are approaching your first Christmas since separating from your husband/wife or partner, you may be faced with making arrangements as to the time each parent spends with the children over the holidays. However, to minimise conflict and difficulty, we suggest that you discuss such arrangements with your former spouse as soon as possible.
When making such arrangements you may wish to consider:
- The age of the children and any views that they may have expressed;
- How/when changeover will occur, keeping in mind the level of conflict between you and your former spouse;
- How you and your former spouse (and your extended families) like to celebrate the Christmas period i.e. is Christmas Day or Christmas Eve more important to you or your spouse or any other cultural events which occur during the holidays;
- Any travel arrangements made over the holiday period;
- Do you and your former spouse intend to alternate the Christmas period each year or spilt Christmas Day itself (alternating the Christmas period is often a good method particularly in high conflict situations).
It is also important to ensure that you and your spouse have a clear agreement as to who the children will be spending time with and when over the holiday period to ensure the children enjoy this special time of year.
Although you may feel grief and nostalgia following any changes which may be made to your Christmas traditions due to separation, it is normal for traditions to evolve and it may be an opportunity to create new traditions!
If coming to an agreement proves to be too difficult, you may wish to request the assistance of a family dispute practitioner such as those with the Family Relationships Centre, or give us a call on 1800 650 656. We’re here to help!
Lauren Ryan | Family Law Solicitor