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Christmas with children of separated parents and blended families

Dec 19, 2022

With Christmas looming, now is the time to try and agree how your children will share their time between their parents and extended families over the holidays.

Here at Herrington Carmichael, we acknowledge that Christmas can be a difficult and emotional time for families, whatever their circumstances. For separated parents, making arrangements for children can be particularly challenging, when pleasing everyone is not always possible, and when you maybe dreading the thought of not spending Christmas with your children.

As a parent, you will always put your children and their needs first. The children should therefore be at the heart of the arrangements. Make sure you and their other parent focus on what is in their best interests.

If you do not have plans in place, now is the time to make them. Talk to your former partner and try to agree arrangements that work for you all.

You could consider one of the following: –

1. Alternating Christmas Eve and Christmas Day each year so that the children spend 24th and 25th December with each of you on alternate years; or

2. Alternating the first and second weeks of the school holidays.

3. Sharing Christmas Day so that the children can see both their parents on 25 December; or

4. Enjoying a big family event, with gifts and a special meal with the children before or after 25th December;

There is no hard and fast rule for child arrangements; what may work for your family might not work for another, so it is important to consider your family’s routine and what is likely to work best.

Once you have agreed what will happen, make sure you share the plans with the children. Sharing plans with the children will mean that they know where they will be spending time during the holiday period. Dates can sometimes be difficult for a child to understand, so you may wish to create a visual plan, for example, a colour coded diary.

If you cannot agree child arrangements, we would be pleased to advise you on the options available, such as mediation, family therapy or court proceedings.

This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter. 

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Sarah Speed

Sarah Speed

Penny Marshall

Penny Marshall

Chartered Legal Executive, Family Law

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