While most of us can look forward to the festive season in all its celebrations, indulgences and cheer, it is important to remember that for separated families and for many children, the holidays can bring a host of problems and worries.
Allocating time with the children and agreeing on the finances can form the crux of disputes and take up valuable time and energy. Russell-Cooke partner Hannah Minty describes what she has learnt over the years as a family lawyer around the festive period and strategies to avoid the headaches.
0:00 - Introduction
1:13 - Christmas can be a source of added stress for separated parents
1:55 - There is no one size fits all
3:06 - Flexibility is key
3:45 - Planning ahead: give yourself enough time to address disputes
4:21 - Mediation
6:11 - The collaborative process
7:01 - Arbitration
9.20 - Remember to put yourself in your childrens' shoes
Hannah is a partner in the family team at Russell-Cooke.
She advises clients from all backgrounds on divorce and financial matters, jurisdictional disputes, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, property disputes between cohabitees, and financial claims on behalf of children following the breakdown of relationships between unmarried couples.
Co-parenting during the holidays - our top tips
- Planning is everything! Discuss arrangements with your former partner as far in advance as you can. This should give you both enough time to consider the proposed plans and if needed, negotiate an agreement.
- Once you’ve reached an acceptable agreement, remember to put it in writing to remove any ambiguity on things such as travel arrangements and handover times.
- Remember to remain as flexible as you can. What works for you one year might not work for the next. Wherever possible maintaining a certain level of flexibility can help minimise disagreements and alleviate tension, promoting a healthy co-parenting relationship.
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Irrespective of how long you have been separated, not spending Christmas Day with your children will never be easy. Try to surround yourself with family or friends so that you are surrounded by people who care for you and who understand that the day may be an emotional or difficult one for you and who will provide the support you need.
- If all else fails, there is still time to seek professional help in reaching an agreement for the holidays. Options available to you include mediation with an independent family mediator, engaging a family solicitor – including via a collaborative process.
Our team of specialist family lawyers are able to advise on all aspects of divorce and separation.
All of our family solicitors are members of Resolution and are committed to taking a non-confrontational approach. If you would like to discuss any of the above, please contact us (Holborn: 020 3826 7526, Kingston: 020 3826 7527, Putney: 020 3826 7520), alternatively, please complete our online enquiry form.