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).