In essence, this time of year is dedicated to family, festivities, and hot chocolate with little marshmallows on top, however, it is often a sombre season for those that are co-parenting children. The question of whom the children are to spend time with on Christmas Day can often cause contention and this blog will attempt to offer constructive solutions to a common predicament.
Firstly, it is important to ensure that child arrangements are child centric, it is easy to believe that every child would be excited at the prospect of having two sets of presents, but every child is different. If your child has expressed that they wish to reside with you or their other parent, then their feelings should be afforded precedence, this is especially true if your child is older and starting to develop their own opinions.
Secondly, if you can have amicable conversations with your ex-partner about prospective arrangements then you are encouraged to do so. It might be a good idea for your child(ren) to spend Christmas Eve with your ex-partner and Christmas Day with you. You should make your preferences known, so that you and your ex-partner can converse honestly about your expectations.
Thirdly, try to share the child arrangements with the child(ren) and do your best to comply with the plans after they have been confirmed. The plans should be rigid enough to provide your child(ren) with a sense of structure and certainty but flexible enough to ensure that they can be changed in certain situations i.e., in the event of medical emergencies, bereavement, or appointments.
Fourthly, if you a struggling to create child arrangements for your child(ren) during the holiday season then it might be appropriate to ask an independent third party, such as a mediator, to facilitate these discussions, and if this fails, then consulting a legal advisor may also prove to be beneficial.
In conclusion, child arrangements should try to utilise the acronym CAR, as they should be child centric, amicable, reliable. If this is not possible via engaging with your ex-partner on a one-to-one basis, then it might be appropriate to seek assistance from somebody else. The holiday period is a time for giving, and giving an additional day of contact during this period may ease the process of negotiating child arrangements for the future.