The festive period is a time for families to come together.
However, child contact arrangements over Christmas can be difficult to navigate for parents who have separated, particularly in reaching an agreement as to who spends time with the children and when.
Where possible, children should have a meaningful relationship with both parents, especially during the festive period.
It would be helpful and beneficial for your children if parents could agree on Christmas plans.
If you are separated, you may wish to begin considering child contact arrangements now for the upcoming Christmas period.
If you are struggling to reach an agreement, we recommend the following tips:
There is no standard child contact arrangement; what works for some families may not work for others.
Consider if any of the following options would work with the other parent and your children:
Where a child arrangement order is already in place, which stipulates the contact arrangements over the Christmas period, but the arrangements are not being adhered to.
You may consider making an application to the court to enforce the order.
The other parent would need to demonstrate that they had a reasonable excuse for breaching the order in relation to the stipulated Christmas plans.
If you are planning to take your child on holiday for Christmas, you will need to obtain permission from every person who has parental responsibility for the child or make an application to the court.
If there is a Child Arrangements Order in place which names you as the person with whom the child shall live, you may take the child out of the UK for Christmas without permission for a period of up to 28 days unless a court order prevents you from doing so.
However, to prevent conflict, it is recommended that parents communicate, and the other parent should be given sufficient notice before any Christmas holiday arrangements are made.
If there is no Child Arrangements Order in place, then you will need to obtain consent from every person who holds parental responsibility before you take a child abroad.
There is no guarantee that a Child Arrangements Order could be made in time for the 2023 festive period.
Therefore, It is advised that the discussions over Christmas arrangements occur as soon as possible in the hope that parents can agree arrangements before the upcoming festive period.