Posted by Emma McMorrow, Senior Associate
First Christmas post-separation? Our recipe for a peaceful family life
Christmas is a time for families to spend together but what if you have recently separated or divorced? Sadly, it can become a difficult time, with all the usual stresses of Christmas amplified and the added worry of keeping the children happy. Emma McMorrow from our Family team provides five tips to help you manage the festive period.
Your children really do want time with each of you
Try and put the acrimony on hold and make sure that arrangements are made so that your children’s time over the Christmas and New Year period is divided between you. Perhaps a move mid-way through Christmas Day, or Christmas Day with one parent and New Year celebrations with the other. If you’re doing it that way consider alternating so that you have Christmas one year and New Year the next.
Make arrangements early on and be ready to compromise
Trying to agree arrangements just before the end of the Christmas term puts unnecessary pressure on both parents. The earlier you think about it, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to come to an agreement that each of you is comfortable with. Remember, if your children spend most of their time with you, do not work on the basis that you can simply dictate what is going to happen over the Christmas period. Be ready to compromise.
Don’t forget the wider family
You may no longer be on good terms with your ex-partner’s family but that does not mean that your children shouldn’t have a good relationship with them. Be as considerate as you can about making arrangements so that your children can see grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins too. That may well mean that you factor in travelling time if families live some way away.
It’s not a competition
Try and find a way of communicating in advance so that you agree who is going to buy what for the children. If you don’t and they get two of the thing they most wanted then you have paved the way for an argument about which toy gets returned after Boxing Day. Don’t try and be the one who gives the greatest number of presents. Again, that’s likely only to lead to a dispute particularly if money is tight.
Be sensitive about new relationships
Be sensitive about introducing new partners to your children and consider your timing carefully. If only one of you has a new partner, Christmas is probably about the worst time you could think of to introduce your partner to your children for the first time, especially if your ex-partner knows nothing about it. If the children head off to see one parent and suddenly talk about the other’s new partner, this could be a recipe for disaster.
If you are going through a divorce or separation, taking professional advice from a Family Law solicitor can help alleviate uncertainty and help you make arrangements for your children. Contact specialist Emma McMorrow for advice on
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