What gift will you give your children this Christmas?

Each year in the UK it is estimated that up to 240,000 children experience their parents separating. That is about 20% more than in the early 1980s. If you have recently separated from your partner you may be feeling angry, shocked or even depressed. It may be difficult for you to appreciate just how your child or children are feeling. They are probably suffering with a sense of bereavement. Children respond in different ways; They may pretend that nothing has happened; they may not discuss the matter with anyone outside of your home hoping that to avoid talking about the situation may mean that it is simply not happening. Many children think that they have caused the break up because they were naughty, very young children can become very angry as they don’t have the words to express how they feel.

In the first instance, despite the fact that you may be shell shocked, you should always try to view the situation through their eyes. You should avoid blaming your ex- partner in front of your children.
If you are able to, then explain the situation to your children together, before you actually separate. Explain that the break up is not their fault. You should always try to explain, if they are going to be able to see both parents, when and how this will happen.
If you are the parent who has decided to leave the family home then you should ensure that the needs of your children are uppermost in your mind. If you have started a new relationship then do not overlook the fact that your child is unlikely to share your enthusiasm for the new situation. Therefore think about planning ahead with your child (including your ex partner in the process) and stick to the plan. Children can be affected for life by a parent who promises to visit and then doesn’t turn up. This can feel like rejection all over again.
Children have a right to see both of their parents and other relatives. Can they still see their cousins, their grandparents, their aunts and uncles?

You should not treat your children as possessions.
Consider Phil, his parents had agreed that they would each see him on a fifty fifty basis. The poor guy put up with this for years, all the way through his A levels and during his degree. This had a huge impact upon his social life. He often couldn’t see his friends because his parents continued to enforce their own rights to see him. They were both inflexible. Therefore he missed out on parties, trips to other cities and he sometimes had to give up parts in drama performances to fit around his parents. Needless to say they were shocked when he had a breakdown in his twenties.
At Emmersons Solicitors Family Law Department, we encourage couples to meet at our offices with both solicitors present. We can then help our clients to reach an early or even temporary agreement as to how often they will see their children. From experience I can tell you that the most common issues tend to revolve around the introduction of a new partner to a child, how often a child will stay overnight with each parent, travelling away with a parent for a holiday and CHRISTMAS.
Hopefully by the time you read this, you will have made arrangements to see your children at Christmas.
”All children need is love”
Sometimes it is not possible for a child to see both parents. There is nothing a parent can do legally to ensure that the other parent sees their child or children. You also have a duty to protect your children from violence, drug abuse or worse.
If you are being denied the chance to see your child or grandchild, or if you feel that you need to prevent contact between your child and their other parent then contact us at Emmersons Solicitors. We have helped thousands of people just like you. We pride ourselves on reaching a speedy resolution whilst avoiding, in most cases, the need to go to court.

Would you like to see your children at Christmas?

If you have separated from your partner this year then this may well be the first Christmas that you will not be living with your children. If so, have you made arrangements with your ex-partner so that you can both spend a reasonable amount of time with the children at Christmas?

Emmersons Solicitors Family Law Department is often inundated with parents contacting us during December when arrangements for them to see their children have just gone wrong. Some of our client’s, having found themselves in this position for the first time, simply had not realised that there may be problems.

It is essential that you address the issue of Christmas contact now. As you can imagine, the courts become rather full the nearer it gets to Christmas. Many law firms are closed from the third week in December for nearly two weeks. Therefore everyone wants their case heard earlier in the month.

You should raise the issue of Christmas contact with your ex-partner as soon as possible. Try to arrange something that suits not just the two of you but also your children. Very young children may wish to wake up in their own bed on Christmas morning. Many of our clients arrange contact so that the children spend Christmas Eve at one house and then move to their other parent’s home later on Christmas Day. They then stay with that parent on Christmas night.

However, if you are thinking of doing this, please think about when your children will eat their meal. One year a friend of mine had to eat two meals. The next year it was worse, one side of the family was supposed to eat at 2pm. By the time my friend had to visit her other parent at 5pm the first meal was still not ready. Upon arrival at the second house it was tough luck as they had already eaten. Needless to say by the time the third Christmas came around the “child” had reached eighteen and refused to spend time with any of her family.

So How Can Emmersons Solicitors Help You to See Your Children At Christmas?

In the first instance you should discuss the issue with your ex partner as soon as possible. If you cannot reach agreement, or if you are told you will have to wait for a decision for any longer than a couple of days, then seek help immediately. If you come to see us we can immediately write to your ex-partner. We can invite them to our office with their solicitor. The idea would be to sit down together to try and put something in place for this Christmas, for the school holidays and for you to have extended time with your children during the long Summer break.

If agreement cannot be reached in good time then we would discuss with you the of issuing court proceedings. This is to be used as a last resort. However, courts will often grant half of all holidays to each parent. If your ex-partner is aware of this then they may be far more willing to negotiate.

If you need help to see your children at Christmas then contact us on 0191 567 6667 (Sunderland) or 0191 284 6989 (Newcastle).Read More »