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Step Into Christmas – Advice To Parents For The Upcoming Holidays

We know that the holidays often present challenges for parents and how they divide time with their children. This is particularly true of the Christmas period, where the emphasis is generally put on spending time with “family”. If you are newly separated, divorced, or not living with your children’s other parent, this could be a difficult time to navigate.

The key advice from family lawyers at Hodge Jones & Allen is to plan ahead. Making a clear and detailed agreement for where and how the children will spend their time is crucial to try iron out any disagreements that may arise in advance. Recording your agreements in a written format can also add clarity and structure later down the line. This can be done effectively in any format – by simply writing your arrangements on an email/piece of paper or – if you want more formality and guidance on the issues that should and could be covered – by creating a Parenting Plan.

If discussions break down or you cannot agree, mediation is available to try to reach a written decision. Hodge Jones & Allen offer a family mediation service, where our trained mediator will meet with you face-to-face to facilitate an open discussion of the issues and options available to you, with the aim of assisting you to reach an agreement.

Another helpful resource for planning your time effectively are shared calendars. There are many online applications that allow you to share a calendar with one of your contacts. This ensures that important events for the children – such as school commitments, nativities, and parties with friends – can be recorded and checked easily without the need for constant correspondence.

Finally, if either of you is planning on taking the children abroad for the holiday period, it is important to get the other parent’s consent. It is potentially a criminal offence (abduction) to remove a child from the UK without consent of the other parent or without a court order. In addition, the non-travelling parent is entitled to know the details of your travel plans, including flights, where the children will be staying, and contact details to communicate with them when they’re away. Make sure to also check the travel requirements for the country you are planning to travel to in advance of your trip, as certain countries may require you to carry specific documentation.

Most parents will try and often can agree to a fair sharing of time over the holiday period and Christmas will run smoothly. However, in circumstances where you are unable to agree, or where you are worried about the safety of your child, our expert Family Law Solicitors are here to help, contact us now on 0330 822 3451 or request a call back online. 

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