Caroline Andrews, solicitor in the family department at Wortley Byers Law, dares to mention Christmas but also advises on the virtues of planning ahead.
At the end of summer, you can be forgiven for shouting at anyone who mentions the C word. Selfridges department store were ahead of their game in opening the Christmas shop in July when there was 'only' 147 days left until Christmas day.
However, if you are a separated parent, with around 15 weeks to go it is actually the time you should also be thinking about Christmas contact as if you require an application to court this should be made sooner rather than later.
Many parents work hard to establish a routine after separation but some days are hard to agree on than others. In the first place, clear planning and discussions can help avoid disagreements so considering arrangements for Christmas early can assist. It maybe that you and your former partner need some assistance in having these discussions and mediation is encouraged by the courts as a way to reach an agreement.
If no agreement can be reached, then an application to court may be your last resort. This is usually under a specific issue order, under the children act. An often under utilised application, it allows the court to address just one issue, such as with whom the child can spend time with at Christmas, and saves the parents from going through lengthy matters on every issue if they are in agreement on them. The court still consider the child’s welfare as the paramount consideration by looking at the past arrangements, the proposals, the child’s religious needs and emotional needs.
Therefore, if you wish to start planning arrangements contact the family team on 01277 268 368 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.