Separated couples should start planning their Christmas childcare arrangements early to avoid arguments and upsets later. There are simple ways to make Christmas merry, even when the whole family is not together.
Many families have established arrangements which work very well, often alternating where the children spend Christmas day year on year. For the newly separated, this will be unchartered water and the first Christmas apart can be a testing time.
As with all family matters putting the needs of the children first is paramount. Whilst it is understandable that both parents may want to be with their children over the festive period, couples who argue will unwittingly risk harming their children.
Only rarely should such disputes require the intervention of the Court. With sensitive handling and a little bit of forethought, everyone can enjoy a relaxing break over Christmas. In tricky circumstances, solicitors and mediators can help parents agree on a formula that works for them and the following guidelines may be helpful:
Ho, ho, ho not Oh, no, no
Couples who want to separate are obliged to be assessed to see if mediation is the best way of arranging parenting issues. It can be much quicker and cheaper. In the vast majority of cases it works. 2 out of 3 couples who start mediation reach a settlement. We are solicitors as well as mediators and we know the law on child maintenance, parenting arrangements and other financial issues.
Kim Beatson is a partner at Anthony Gold. She specialises in the Family & Relationships department, based in our South London office at London Bridge. Kim developed and now leads the Family & Dispute Resolution team at Anthony Gold. She specialises in all aspects of family law with an emphasis on finance, for both married and unmarried couples.