Whilst we haven’t begun hanging the wreaths on our doors or decorating the Christmas trees just yet, Christmas is only 12 weeks away and we should start preparing for that busy time of the year.
For most of us that will mean purchasing gifts and food to share, but for those who have recently separated, those preparations will include making arrangements with your former spouse as to the time you will each spend with the children over the holidays. To minimise conflict and difficulty, we suggest that these discussions with your former spouse begin as soon as possible so that you have the time to compromise with one another.
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)
You may even wish to include your former spouse in Christmas celebrations if this suits your family. Alternatively, this year can be seen an opportunity to move forward and create new Christmas traditions for your family.
Following separation, and at Christmas, it is normal to be feeling sad and a sense of grief given that the family unit has broken down, but if you start planning for the Christmas period now you may reduce the stress of leaving these matters to the last minute.
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