It is that time of year where the festive TV adverts start playing on our screens and we start to think about Christmas shopping and decorations. However, for separated parents this can be a stressful time ensuring that they see their children over the festive period. This year will come with its own set of problems in particular, as we continue to deal with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The Courts and the Government have been clear that separated parents can spend time with their children regardless of ‘lockdown’ and therefore agreed arrangements will be necessary. We, of course, are now within another lockdown and it is unknown as to what further restrictions will change over the coming weeks. However, the current guidelines do allow for children to move between the houses of their separated parents and therefore the Family Team at Ellisons can help you navigate the pitfalls of agreeing matters over the Christmas period.

It helps to avoid disagreement if you can organise ahead of time and try and reach an agreement. We appreciate that communication can sometimes be difficult and therefore you may wish to consider mediation or assistance from a family solicitor to assist you in making these arrangements. At Ellisons, our family solicitors can help you reach an agreement with your ex-partner or spouse.

In our experience we find that often parents divide the festive period between them, for example, one parent has the children on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the other parent then collects them later on Christmas Day or Boxing Day to spend time together. This can mean that the children have two Christmas Day’s which they will enjoy and allows both parents to spend quality time with the children. These arrangements are usually alternated each year.

We would also suggest trying to discuss matters relating to presents and other arrangements with your ex-partner or spouse in order to avoid any potential misunderstandings. Arguments can cause stress and upset for all those involved and particularly the children which is not in their best interest.

In some situations unfortunately court proceedings may be required in order to resolve matters and we can assist you with these. The Court are still dealing with new cases although many hearings are dealt with remotely, for example, by telephone or video conference.