Christmas can be a tricky time when you’re a separated parent.  Even if you’ve been separated for a while, issues can arise if you haven’t put in place arrangements that work within your own separated family dynamic.

So how can you help make your festive season go more smoothly? This series of blogs will give you our top tips.

Tip 1: When will the children be with you

Consider early on what arrangements might work for you all.

The children could split their time between both parents on Christmas Day, waking up with one of you and then going to the other parent, perhaps in the afternoon

Or one of you could have the children overnight on Christmas Eve until Christmas morning or lunchtime, and then the children could spend time with the other parent from Christmas afternoon overnight until Boxing Day.

Or, if you can make it work, both parents could be in the same house with the children on Christmas morning and perhaps even have Christmas dinner together. Of course, this won’t work for everyone, but it might just be possible for you so it’s definitely something to consider.

Or maybe the children could have two ‘Christmas Days’ – one on 25th as usual, but another perhaps on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day so they get double the excitement.

Consider other family members too.  You might not be at all concerned about whether your ex’s parents can see your children over Christmas, but the chances are that the children will want to see their Grandparents.  You might not be bothered about whether your children can wake up on Christmas morning with your ex’s new baby, but the children might be really excited to be there for their new brother or sister’s first Christmas, or just to be together to share the fun of opening their presents.  Consider whether you can work around those relationships so that your children get to see everyone they want to see.

Above all, think about the arrangements sooner rather than later and don’t make the children feel torn between both parents.  Keep any disagreements away from the children (remember, they see and hear more than you think) and let the children know as soon as possible what the arrangements will be, so that they can feel reassured that they will be spending time with both of you over Christmas.

In our next blog, we’ll give our tips for managing events with the children at Christmas so check back soon. And if you need help with managing arrangements for your children over Christmas, get in touch with the family team at Tiger Law as soon as possible – remember, Christmas will be here before you know it!

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