Angharad Bentley, family solicitor at Farleys advises on organising arrangements for your children over Christmas

The Christmas tree lights are twinkling, darker nights are drawing in and everyone is preparing for the Christmas holidays and feeling festive.

But for the family courts and family law solicitors, this time of year is extremely busy. We frequently deal with applications to Court in the final few days before Christmas to try and help a family resolve their difficulties regarding the time children spend with their parents.

Fear not. This last minute panic can be avoided. Here are a few hints and tips to help you organise arrangements for your children over Christmas:

1. Remember, Christmas is for children. Although as adults we have as much fun as the kids, remember that whatever arrangements you make you must think about what is best for your child not you (the adult).

2. Christmas is not just one day. Okay, yes it is always 25th December but there is the excitement of Christmas Eve when you leave out Santa’s mince pie, milk and a carrot for Rudolph and on Boxing Day when you eat leftover turkey and play with all those toys. For children at school, Christmas is their whole two week holiday, often more. This means you have plenty of days to arrange for your child to see their other parent and grandparents.

3. Be creative. A few years ago, an eight-year-old girl called a local radio station after Christmas to tell them about the best thing she got for Christmas. She said her best Christmas was spending Christmas day with her dad then doing Christmas all over again on Boxing Day with her mum – getting two lots of presents and seeing her whole family.

4. Be organised – don’t leave it until 23rd December to try and sort something out, otherwise you and your child(ren) will be upset. Make arrangements as soon as possible – ideally by the end of November at the latest. This means if you need assistance from a solicitor or the Courts there is time to resolve any difficulties with much less stress.

5. See the bigger picture. Perhaps consider alternating arrangements. Sadly, someone may always be unhappy, but what you do one year could be alternated the next year and so forth. And of course, there are 24 hours in a day – enough time to share the goodwill with your children and both parents, if you decide to split days rather than alternate arrangements each year.

Whilst Christmas can be an emotive time for separated families, it doesn’t have to be. Try to be considerate and realistic. Put aside differences for one day and allow your children to experience the magic of Christmas with each parent.

The Family Law team at Farleys Solicitors’ provide expert advice on children matters in addition to providing specialist help for you if you are considering divorce or separation.

Call the team on 01254 368040 or email:



Tedd Walmsley

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