Christmas and New Years can be extremely stressful and tense if you have not planned for how your children will spend their holidays.

Plan ahead

If you anticipate disagreement to arise regarding Christmas arrangements, then it is better to address the matter with your ex-partner as soon as possible. Do not leave it to be sorted until closer to Christmas day!

The Family Court will be closed on 23 December 2016 and reopen on 4 January 2017. Only urgent applications such as protection orders will be dealt with by the Court on allocated days during this period. 

Most lawyer’s offices will be closed during this period as well. So it is important that you seek legal advice sooner rather than later.

Things to remember when arranging for care during Christmas and New Year:

  1. Family Dispute Resolution;

  1. Focus on what’s best for the Children;

  • The decisions do not depend on what you want or what your ex-partner wants. It’s what the children want and what is in the best interests for them.
  • If one party lives far from the other, then it is reasonable for the children to see the other party on another day such as Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. It would be contrary to the best interests of the children, for them to be travelling for long distances on Christmas day just to see the other parent.
  1. Children should be able to see both parents on Christmas day if they live in the same city;

  • If it’s possible, make it happen!
  1. Children’s views;

  • Do not ask your child who they want to spend Christmas day with. This will put too much pressure on them.
  • Unless the child is old enough to make such a mature decision, you do not want to make the children feel like they have to choose between their parents.

Four tips on making Christmas a smooth experience for both you and your children

  1. Avoid multiple pick up and drop offs during Christmas day if the situation between you and your ex-partner is tense. If you plan ahead, you can ensure that the transition between parents are done efficiently.
  1. Share photos between you both – of the Christmas tree(s). Keep the time special for your kids.
  1. Do not use presents as a way to compete with your ex-partner. Collaborate with your ex-partner if possible. It’s not a competition.
  1. Encourage your children to spend time with both side of their family.

Remember, the holidays are a time for families to enjoy together. Put aside any bitter feelings you may have with your ex-partner and focus on your children.

For more information about care arrangements on Christmas Day, please see the link below:

If you want our help in planning your Christmas and make this year special, then call us on (09) 309 46 47