Albeit it’s only November, I have already seen the beginning of the inevitable Christmas shopping promotions. As everyone is supposed to know, Christmas is all about spending time with one another’s families, however that can be a particularly difficult task when a separated family is arguing over “who gets to spend Christmas Day with the children?”
Of course many Courts and solicitors alike appear to become busier with applications for specific dates to be adhered to over the Christmas holiday period for contact with parents. Parents undoubtedly compete for the ultimate Christmas Day being spent at their house with their child. The difficulty is that there is no hard and fast set rule to who should have Christmas Day and who should have effectively Boxing Day.
When coming to any decision, the Court will of course consider what is in the child’s best interest? Are they to be convoyed around numerous maternal family gatherings in the morning and eat one turkey dinner at lunch time and then be handed over like a present to the paternal family for the afternoon session in which there is another Turkey dinner?
Ultimately my advice to clients has been to attempt to compromise between them and find the most reasonable agreeable option available. One of the best scenarios I have found to work is each parent sharing alternative Christmas Day or Boxing Day. The child can then have the advantage of one Christmas day being with his maternal family and the next with his paternal family. Then the day after being Boxing Day can be in effect when Father Christmas visits again to very special children for another Christmas day!
It would be hoped that parents can effectively agree to Christmas holiday contact and not resort to Court litigation. Mediation can also assist in negotiations in the event parents cannot agree to any arrangements. Ultimately it is imperative that at this happy time of year children are excluded from any disagreements between their parents.
I am sure if you asked your child whether he would wish Father Christmas to come twice a year he would say Yes!
By family law solicitor, Anna White