Child Arrangements 

With Christmas approaching, you might be worried about sorting out the arrangements for the festive period and the time that your children will spend with you if you are separated or divorced.

It is important that children can have a meaningful relationship with both parents if it is safe and it is likely going to be best for your children if you can reach an agreement about Christmas plans together.

If you are unable to reach an agreement about the time the children spend with you at Christmas, you could consider attending mediation. Mediation is where an independent, professionally trained mediator helps you and the other parent explore ways of reaching an agreement.

We have good relationships with accredited mediators who we can put you in touch with to provide you with the right information and support.

We would encourage parents to discuss Christmas arrangements at an early stage to avoid any last-minute arguments.

We have included below some tips to consider when making plans for Christmas arrangements with the other parent:

  • Discuss Christmas arrangements as early as possible, so you can make plans for the festive period.
  • Be flexible - consider if any of the usual arrangements will need to be varied over the Christmas period.
  • Give each other reasonable notice of any plans or issues.
  • Try to listen to each other’s opinions and ideas.
  • Think about your plans from the perspective of the children.
  • Try not to have arguments or heated discussions in front of the children.

Child arrangements at Christmas

Here are some common examples of arrangements:

  • Christmas Day morning spent with one parent, and Christmas Day afternoon spent with the other. This can be alternated or repeated each year.
  • Christmas Day and Boxing Day with one parent, and New Year's Eve and New Year’s Day with the other parent. This can be alternated or repeated each year.
  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day morning spent with one parent and Christmas Day afternoon and Boxing Day spent with the other.

If you are unable to reach an agreement, then you can ask the courts to consider the arrangements and we can advise you about the best way of doing this.

What to do if an agreement cannot be reached?

If you have been unable to reach an agreement with the other parent or are struggling to compromise, you should consult a family solicitor. Your solicitor can provide you with further advice and guidance when negotiating with the other parent. Your solicitor may suggest the following:

  • Writing to the other parent setting out your proposals with a view to reaching an agreement which is in the best interests of the child.
  • Refer you to mediation where you and the other parent would attend joint sessions with an accredited mediator to ascertain whether you can resolve issues in relation to the children. Mediation can be quicker, cheaper and less stressful than attending court.
  • To obtain a Child Arrangements Order from the court. It is common for a Child Arrangements Order to be used to make provisions for the Christmas period as this is a special time for families; however, the order can also contain general provisions regarding shared contact that applies year-round.

Here to help

Our experienced team of Family Law Solicitors are experts in dealing with matters concerning children and making applications for a Child Arrangements Order. We understand that the Christmas period causes considerable stress and concern for separated parents. If you require advice, please contact our Family Law Team below.

Contact Us

You can contact a member of our team using the contact form below or by phoning us on

0161-941-4000