Tips for a peaceful Christmas for separated families

Child & Parenting Matters, General

Tips for a peaceful Christmas for separated families

It is almost Christmas – our favourite time of the year. However, for separated families, Christmas can be a time of increased conflict and angst for many. Both parents understandably want to spend time with their children at Christmas.

From our experience of giving advice to our family law clients over many years – we have come up with the following tips to help things go more smoothly at Christmas:

  1. Sort out parenting arrangements for Christmas as early as possible in the year. Try and come to an agreement with your ex-partner by putting forward a proposal of what time you consider your children should spend with both of you at Christmas. If you do reach an agreement, then ask a family lawyer to make the parenting agreement legally binding. If you cannot reach an agreement, then you should consider applying to the family court for parenting orders.
  2. Christmas is a season, not just a day! Maybe you can’t spend Christmas day with your children, but you can spend some other time during this holiday period. If this is the case take it and own it. You could celebrate Christmas with your children on Christmas Eve, or on Boxing Day. You could even have Christmas in July!
  3. Create a family tradition. Something for just you and your children. It can be anything, it might be going to the beach for a Christmas BBQ, going to Christmas Carols every year or looking at Christmas lights together.
  4. Look at it from the perspective of your child. If you are sharing Christmas day with your ex-partner, your children will be eating Christmas feasts at two houses and getting two lots of presents. They might be tired, over stimulated and full. Be patient and considerate. Remember it is not a competition with your ex-partner to out do each other. It is about spending quality time with your children. That may simply be going for a swim or watching a movie together.
  5. Avoid engaging in conflict at Christmas at all costs. You don’t want your children to have memories of their parents fighting at Christmas and not getting along.
  6. If you don’t get to see your children at Christmas time, make sure you look after yourself. Make plans with friends or treat yourself to a Christmas lunch out. Do something special for yourself.

We hope these tips help you get through the Silly Season. We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Contact our Cairns family lawyers if you need help to work out parenting arrangements for your family over the Christmas period.

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