For many families, Christmas is one of the most important times of year and there can be a lot of pressure to ensure that everyone in the family, especially the children, has their best ever Christmas. This can lead to problems before, during and after the festive season.
For parents who are already separated, it can prove very difficult to agree the living arrangements for the children. Some people decide to work out a pattern where the children spend Christmas Eve and the first part of Christmas Day with one parent, with them then spending the rest of Christmas Day and Boxing Day with the other parent. Another pattern that is frequently used is for the children to spend the main Christmas week with one parent and to then spend the week over New Year with the other parent.
Whatever pattern is used, there are a few key points to consider:
- Both parents need to feel that their opinion has been listened to and respected.
- It is often helpful to agree to alternate the arrangements each year in order to ensure balance.
- The earlier that the arrangements can be agreed then the less likely that it is to go wrong.
For parents who are still in a relationship, Christmas can be the time when existing fractures begin to widen. The realisation that they did not have a Happy Christmas, followed by the desire to have a fresh start in the New Year, can be the tipping point towards deciding to end a relationship.
Whether you are a separated parent who is still trying to work out this year’s Christmas living arrangements for the children or you find yourself saying “never again” to another pressure cooker year once the New Year has started, my suggestion is that you contact your local family mediator first in order to maximise the chances of resolving everything as amicably as possible.
Mediation offers a platform to reach agreements about all the key issues that a separation or divorce involves, ranging from agreeing the living arrangement for the children to achieving a financial settlement. It also makes it much more likely that you will build bridges, rather than burn them down, as well as improving communication, which is especially important when you have children to consider. Then there is the fact that it invariably costs only a fraction of the cost of a protracted legal dispute via solicitors or the courts.
Please contact us to find out more about the process of mediation and to arrange your individual meeting to discuss your situation on a confidential basis.
We have flexible meeting times, including evening appointments, at our Godalming office and we are also able to meet you in our office near St Paul’s in central London if that is more convenient for you.
For more information, please download the free “Divorce and separation guide – there is a better way!” and watch the accompanying short videos which can be found on our website – www.godalmingfamilymediation.co.uk
Godalming Family Mediation
1A Church Street, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1EQ
Tel: 01483 339379 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org