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Christmas after separation can be the hardest. When the family are accustomed to certain traditions, maybe it’s waking up a 5am to open presents or drinking port at 11am (it’s Christmas, it doesn’t count!), it can be hard to come to terms with your new reality. I have come up with a few words of advice to guarantee a Merry Christmas!

Communicating with your children is essential for a happy Christmas. Be open with the children that this Christmas may feel different, but they will still have a wonderful time. If they are old enough to express their feelings, talk about it. Ask your ex-partner to do the same to ensure your children feel supported.

Agree the arrangements as to the time the children will spend with each parent as soon as possible. Giving all parties time to adjust to new Christmas traditions.

If it is difficult to come up with a plan that allows both parents to spend quality time with the children, a typical arrangement may be:

  • Parent 1 shall have the children from finishing school up until the morning of Boxing day;
  • Parent 2 shall have the children from Boxing day until New Year’s Day;
  • This shall be alternated each year.

This provides the fairest outcome for both parents and the children.

When separating, getting used to managing the family finances can be hard and Christmas can make that tougher. Have an open discussion with your ex-partner about gifts, ensuring that it doesn’t become a competition on who can get the most expensive present. You could agree a budget for the presents or agree what each of you will buy.

Involve all family to support you through this period, whether that’s parents, siblings or close friends. They will be there to offer you support you need. Don’t be scared to ask for help.

Take time for yourself. It is easy to fixate on giving your children the best Christmas possible and forget to take care of yourself. Buy yourself a treat to open at Christmas or watch that series that’s on your list.

If you are unable to agree the child arrangements or the relationship with your ex-partner becomes strained, a family solicitor can assist you in resolving any issues. We can support you through mediation, negotiating child arrangements or assisting you with Court proceedings. If you would like any further information, please contact us.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.