Knowledge Hub | Articles

12 December 2018

But I would like the children to be with ME on Christmas Day

Christmas is now fast approaching and for families that celebrate the occasion, decorations are being put up, presents are being purchased and the size of the turkey needed for the big day is being debated. However, although Christmas can be a fun time of year, it can also be a stressful and anxious time for families who have separated and who do not yet have set agreements in place for the arrangements for care of their children.

One of the main issues most family lawyers come across at this time of year is: which parent should the children spend the special festive period with? This can quite often be a highly emotional issue with each parent believing that the children should spend it with them.   

There is however no right or wrong answer to this question. The parents (provided they both share parental responsibility) will be encouraged to reach an agreement and in the event that they are not able to reach one, the court can be invited to determine what the arrangements should be and will ultimately make an order based upon what are in the best interests of the children. 

The court will look at issues such as the usual arrangements for care, the effect of any order made on the children and any other special characteristics which the children may have. The court is likely to also look at what the arrangements were during the previous year, and any other issues such as travel arrangements if both parents live far apart from each other. 

The risk with litigating such an issue is that the same question put to six different judges could lead to six different answers, often depending upon personal preference or opinion. It is therefore difficult for any family lawyer to predict the outcome of such an application.

As such, it is far better for a parent to reach an agreement based upon what they deem to be best for their children. Issues to consider include who the children shall spend time with on each day of the Christmas holidays; should that time be divided and then alternated the following year? Should the days be split to enable the children to see each parent on each of the special days?  What about the remainder of the school holidays?

Parents are encouraged to reach an agreement as far in advance as possible to avoid any last minute issues. The benefit of this is that it also allows the children to look forward to their time with both parents during the festive period.

All of our family lawyers are specialists in dealing with child arrangement disputes. Should you require any advice or assistance in relation to this issue, then please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing or calling 01753 279046.

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