Christmas is a time of year when many families enjoy quality time together. However, for separated parents, things can be very different. Otherwise stable child contact arrangements can often break down during the Christmas period, but this can be avoided with careful planning and support.
Resolving a dispute about arrangements for your children can be difficult, especially with the added pressure of the festive period. However, contact arrangements can be managed and disputes can be avoided through use of an agreed parenting plan. A parenting plan can be used to facilitate communication between you and the other parent. The plan can specify practical arrangements for the children, such as when and how the children will spend time with each parent and can even be used to decide how you will split the cost of the Christmas presents, which is another common sticking point.
If you are having problems agreeing contact arrangements for your children, it is important that you seek legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure that you do not prejudice your parental position. You also need to be aware of your responsibility to minimise the conflict for the sake of the children. At Myerson, our expert solicitors can advise as you the legal aspects of parental conflict but we can also refer you to family mediation, which may help you resolve the dispute in a constructive and non-confrontational way. By attending mediation, it is less likely that the court would need to be involved, which will be more cost effective for both parents.
Some separated couples benefit from counselling or therapeutic support and our solicitors do have close relationships with local professionals who run specialist ‘Parenting After Parting’ courses. These course can be extremely successful in reducing parental conflict and in simplifying an otherwise complex and difficult situation.
If you require any legal advice regarding your children, or would like further information on the issues raised in this article, please contact one of our specialist family solicitors on 0161 941 4000. We offer a free 30 minute appointment, subject to assessment.