While the current guidance is that lockdown will end on 2nd December, it is becoming increasingly likely that some form of lockdown or social distancing system will continue throughout the festive season. With rumblings that lockdown rules could become more complex, it is important for separated parents to work out their contact agreements ready for the festive holidays.
In each of the lockdowns, children have been allowed to move between separated parents, so long as none of the parties were self-isolating, and it should be anticipated that this kind of arrangement will continue with any further lockdown legislation. This means that whether households are allowed to mix or not, children will be able to travel between their parents to celebrate with them. CAFCASS has also advised that children should maintain their usual routine.
Be prepared and ready
Now is the time to begin putting plans in place with your ex-partner as to where your children will spend any festive holidays and how their time will be split between you. This should be based on a personal choice related to what works for your family unless there is already a court order in place which sets out these arrangements which should be followed.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that there should be room for flexibility. This year, like no other, we have all had to make and accept changes at short notice. So, if someone suddenly has to isolate, or plans change because of something out of everyone’s control, try to work through the situation.
The kids come first
Of course you want to spend time and celebrate with your children, but your decisions over where and when they celebrate should consider their needs first. Have a conversation with them about the plans that you are putting in place and, if you have older children, ask them what they would like to do.
Try to be fair
Take a look at the arrangements and ask yourself if you would be happy if you had your ex-partner’s proposed contact. While, breakups can cause animosity and can be acrimonious, access to children, particularly during the festive season, should be fair. If you feel you would be unhappy if the shoe was on the other foot, you may well want to reconsider your plans.
Stick to the plan
We realise we’ve written be prepared to be flexible above, but that flexibility relates to last minute changes. Rather like a sat-nav detour because of roadworks. Whatever arrangements you come to, make sure you stick to them. This provides consistency and stability for the children in your care.
If you need advice, get it early
If communication between you and your ex-partner is difficult and you feel you need a family law solicitor to negotiate an agreement for you, the rule is sooner rather than later. Getting agreements in place can reduce the stress of a traditionally chaotic season.
Jarmans’ Family Law Team are available to help with any family law issues you may have and can arrange virtual meetings and phone consultations. Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01795 47229
We offer a free initial 15-minute, pre-bookable phone call with one of our experienced family law team. Alternatively, we offer a fixed £120 fee inc VAT for a 45-minute meeting with one of our highly experienced family team.