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In three months’ time the festive season will be upon us. Shops are already starting to display this year’s tinsel, baubles and the latest Disney themed chocolate advent calendars. Your children may be starting their Christmas lists or even refining what is on their wish list and in what will probably seem no time at all, the festive season will be only a few short weeks away.

You may have recently separated and this is the first Christmas you will not be together as a family unit with your children. Similarly it may be that last year was a nightmare with hundreds of emails, texts or even solicitors’ letters and/or phone calls trying to determine who is picking up and at what time and on which day and for how long.  Whatever the situation then you may wish to pre-empt last minute angst and conflict and work out a plan now with your ex-partner as to where your children will spend time over the festive period and with whom.

There is no right or wrong answer to this and the law is certainly not fixed. The guiding principle under the Children Act is that children should spend meaningful amounts of time with each parent providing it is safe for them to do so. This applies all year round. Every family is different and a whole host of practical related issues may determine what is appropriate. For example your ex-partner may or may not live locally to you, you may have family yourself who live far away, you or your ex-partner may have other children who need to be taken into account and many other factors particular to your “family” unit may come into play which impact upon what is the right arrangement for you and your children.

What is important is that your children enjoy Christmas and are sheltered from conflict and distress caused by negativity between mum and dad. If you are struggling to think about how you will face this year’s conversation/negotiation be that for the first time, or this year you want to sort things out a different way then please contact us.

Whether you are seeking legal advice or would be interested in attending family mediation so that you and your ex-partner can sit with us and we can help you work things out then please contact us. We offer a free initial telephone consultation. Contact Sally , Laura or Melanie in our family team by phone on 0113 322 9222 or email us at