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Top Tips for Co-parenting at Christmas

With the festive period almost upon us, many separated couples will have to think about how best to share the time with their children over the Christmas break. This can be stressful as parents sometimes find it hard to agree who the children should be with and when, particularly on the all-important Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This year things may be even more difficult given the current pandemic.

Under the current rules, children under the age of 18 can continue to move between their parents' homes for the purposes of contact and this applies regardless of which tier families find themselves in. Between 23 and 27 December this year up to three households can meet to form a Christmas bubble. This should come as welcome news as it means that children moving between their parents' homes between this period will be able to spend time with extended family members/friends on both parents' sides.

We have put together a few simple tips to support parents when trying to arrange Christmas plans this year:

You should always attempt to resolve disagreements between yourselves in the first instance, but if you are unable to do so, we can offer you a fixed fee appointment to provide you with advice on how best to resolve matters. It may be helpful for us to correspond with the other parent on your behalf with a view to reaching an agreement.

In some cases, parties may wish to attend mediation. This will give both parties an opportunity to negotiate future arrangements for the children with the help of an impartial third party. Whilst the mediator will not tell parties what to do, they will help you reach an agreement amicably.

If all other options have been exhausted, you can apply to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order. Unfortunately, we are now at a point where unless there are safety concerns for a child any new applications won’t be listed until the New Year. If, therefore, you do encounter issues this year, we would suggest that you use the spirit of the New Year as an opportunity to get these resolved so that arrangements are in place ready for next Christmas, as well as other upcoming holidays or special occasions.

When considering an application for a Child Arrangements Order, the Court will look at what is in the child’s best interests. If there are no safeguarding concerns, there is a presumption that it is in children’s best interests to spend time with both parents. Usually this will mean spending time with both parents at Christmas, whether this is by splitting the main days or alternating each year.

If you or anyone you know are having any issues concerning the arrangements for your children or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact me on 0121 289 3500 or at L.Stocks@qsdavisons.com

Laura Stocks
Solicitor
Edgbaston
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