All I want for Christmas…
Christmas can be a stressful time for separated parents when arranging contact with the children over the festive period. At Ridley & Hall, we notice that the most difficult discussions between the parents about contact with the children are when the request is made only a few days in advance. As Christmas is only a month away, we strongly recommend discussing contact with your ex-partner now.
It is always best for the parents to try and come to an agreement between themselves.
If an agreement cannot be reached between the parents directly, then the first thing to consider is mediation. A mediator will work with you to assist you both in trying to reach a consensus of opinion. The mediator does not make the decisions for you, but will try and keep you focused on the important things, and will help you to discuss the crucial issues more easily.
If mediation is unsuccessful, then you can seek legal representation to try and negotiate with your former partner. Failing this, an application can be made at court with the aim of reaching an agreement or the judge can make an order they feel is in the child’s best interests. For the matter to be dealt with by the court, you must have at least attended the initial assessment meeting with a mediator. As an initial mediation appointment can take up to a fortnight, it is essential you begin this process as soon as possible to avoid any frantic last minute difficulties.
At Ridley & Hall’s Family First, our lawyers are Collaborative and Resolution accredited, which means we are committed to work with other lawyers to achieve settlements in a non-confrontational manner. For more information, please visit our FamilyFirst website or call us on 01484 538421.
Top Tips for Contact over Christmas
- Think what your child/children would like to do best, and try and keep your feelings out of it – it’s hard, but making sacrifices so that your children can have the best is part of parenting.
- If you decide to discuss is with your ex directly, go somewhere neutral – a café or park – try and keep family and friends out of it, if it’s safe to do so. Also, avoid alcohol!!
- If you can’t agree things straight away, give yourself some breathing space – don’t try and vent your annoyance on your ex – it generally makes things worse.
- Think about what you have done previously, and how you can fit some time in for both of you into your traditions around Christmas.
- Remember, it’s only one day!