A Guide to Getting Through Christmas for Divorced Couples with Children
Christmas is a time when we are meant to be merry, but for many people it can be stressful, and even a time that we are not looking forward to at all. For recently separated or divorced couples it can become a time of sadness as we consider that this could be the first Christmas spent without our child, or children.
On top of all the usual Christmas arrangements, there are the arrangements for who spends Christmas where to agree. It can be very helpful to have plans for Christmas agreed well in advance so that everyone has time to get used to any new routines. If parents are struggling to agree the best outcome for the family then there will be time to attend mediation to help. Agreements can be written up in a parenting plan, a ‘separation agreement’, or a legally binding Consent Order.
There is no rule book, as every family is unique and their children will have differing needs and preferences. Some families take turns on where children spend Christmas each year, for others Christmas Day with one parent and Boxing Day with the other is a preference and some children are happiest being in the same place for the Christmas holidays every year; perhaps gift opening is a shared activity or perhaps not. Undoubtedly though, the best arrangements are where the children’s best interests are at the heart.
Divorced couples may wish to decide to purchase a main gift for children together, discuss choices of gifts to avoid duplications, or remain independent. The most important thing here is that gifts are not used as a way to manipulate favour with a child or children.
Helping children choose a gift for their other parent is a lovely activity to do with them and will make them feel good knowing that they have a gift to give to their parent.
Putting the needs of children first is paramount and couples who argue will unwittingly risk harming their children. Although it may be difficult, for adults and children, to adjust to the changes over Christmas following a divorce, it is also an opportunity to make new traditions and memories. It is a time to put differences aside.
Please contact us on Bingley 01274 723858, Ilkley 01943 601173 or Bradford 01274 735511 if you think you would benefit from talking through any issues.
You can find out more about separation agreements and judicial separations here