Child Arrangements at Christmas

Unfortunately, it is common for disagreements to arise between parents at Christmas regarding the arrangements over the festive period as understandably both parents want to spend quality time with the children and the extended family.

Leaving the planning and child arrangements to the last minute can end up causing unnecessary stress and distress to both parents and ultimately to the children if agreements cannot be reached in time. In an ideal world, both parents will be able to reach an acceptable agreement which will work well for everyone concerned each year. However, sadly this is not always the case.

When things don’t go to plan!

You may currently be in an ongoing dispute with your ex-partner and be facing Christmas with unsatisfactory arrangements or no arrangements at all this year.

Alternatively, if after Christmas you feel that Christmas could have been better with a plan in place or a variation to the current arrangements moving forward you may wish to enter into discussions with your ex to ensure that future plans are made well in advance of next Christmas.

Child arrangements and Christmas – What can I do?

The first step will be to try and raise your concerns with the other parents and to enter into a discussion about what you would like to work differently in the future.

If you are unable to reach a compromise the next option available to you would be to try Mediation. If Mediation proves to be unsuccessful or inappropriate in your particular case then the next option would be to make an application to the Family Court for a Child Arrangements Order to define the arrangements for your child.

It is important to note that if you intend to make an application to the court it is a requirement that Mediation is attempted first unless an exemption applies.

The Court will hear from both parents and will consider both positions carefully in reference to the welfare checklist. It is important to note that the welfare and best interests of the child/children is the ‘paramount concern’ of the Court. If an agreement cannot be reached during the proceedings the Court will make a final order which will be legally binding upon both parents.

Please note however that should you currently be experiencing difficulties regarding arrangements for this year, due to Christmas now fast approaching the Court would be unable to deal with any application in advance of Christmas. However, Browell Smith & Co can assist in attempting to negotiate on your behalf.

Contact our Family Law Department

Here at Browell Smith & Co we aim to provide clear and tailored advice and assistance in respect of your specific family circumstances. Our team are highly experienced in this area and able to advise and assist you in negotiating an agreement and/or making an application and representing you in the Family Court should such a step be necessary.

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