Managing Child Contact at Christmas.

#GoodDivorceWeek

Top Tips from the family team at KBL Solicitors.

Christmas is traditionally a time for families to spend much needed quality time together, yet many will face difficulty over the festive season as families struggle to agree arrangements for children arising as a result of relationship breakdown.

For some parents it is as simple as picking up the telephone to arrange to spend time with their children, but for many, this is sadly not the case. Deciding where the children will eat their Christmas dinner is just one of many issues which can arise and turn this joyful time into a stressful and unhappy nightmare.

Whenever parents separate, both want to do the best for the children this is mirrored by the Courts under the Children Act 1989. With this in mind here are some top tips to help this Christmas;

1/ Plan ahead – Talking about what will happen at Christmas in advance helps to ensure both parents have plenty of time to deal with any disagreements. If assistance is required from a mediator, solicitor or an application has to be made to Court, there needs to be sufficient time to do this.

2/ Be amicable – Keep any tension away from the children. Try not to involve them or make them aware of how you are feeling. This can be difficult, particularly when a separation is fresh and emotions are running high.

3/ Be flexible – Remember that Christmas Day is only one day in a year. Rather than fighting over Christmas Day itself, think about alternating the day as well as enjoying the lead up to Christmas so both parents get to spend quality time with the children.

4/ Keep arrangements previously made –There will obviously be times when one parent needs to alter arrangements. Try to let your co-parent know as soon as possible so that an alternative agreement can be reached. Try to bear in mind the fact that it is likely that there will be occasions in the future when you may need to change arrangements and will require your co-parent’s assistance.

5/ Put yourself in your children’s shoes – Ask yourself, how can they spend fun time with both parents?

Unless there is an urgent issue about the safety of your children, issuing an application at Court is not the answer. It is always better to decide on the arrangements for your children yourselves. However, if this is not possible you may need to take legal advice on your options to ensure that these problems do not occur again next year.

(an organisation of family justice professionals committed to resolving issues in a constructive way), have produced a short video to help parents realise there is a better way to ensure children’s interests come first during separation. Watch it here: Ways to Put Children first Resolution are also offering couples their Parenting Through Separation Guide, for free, you can download the guide now Parenting Through Separation

The family law team at KBL Solicitors LLP have considerable experience in helping individuals in all sorts of different situations. We offer a sympathetic handling of each individual case, always aiming that children suffer minimally from their parents’ separation.

If you have any questions or would like to arrange a free, no obligation consultation please contact our family team: Amy Dawber or Amera Karim Nazib on Bolton 01204 527777 or Blackburn 01254 268790 or email  adawber@kbl.co.uk   aknazib@kbl.co.uk

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