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Family Law in Canberra – Parenting arrangements specific to Christmas

By November 6, 2014No Comments

Custody of children for holiday periods throughout the year is routinely agreed as part of parenting agreements.  However, the uniqueness of the Christmas period means special consideration may need to be given to nutting out arrangements that work best for the children and allow them to enjoy the seasonal festivities with the least amount of stress possible.

In particular, consider working out well in advance the issues of: where each parent intends to spend Christmas and any potential travel involved for children; whether there are any special cultural needs or customs that need to be borne in mind and accommodated and; practical ways to divide the festive time fairly, so that children may be able to experience some Christmas celebrations in both parents’ households.

Some parents find it beneficial to give children two “Christmases”— on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, or Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Alternatively, perhaps one parent can have the children from, say, 4pm on Christmas Eve til 4pm on Christmas Day, with the other parent having the children from 4pm on Christmas Day til 4pm Boxing Day, so enabling both parents to spend time with the kids on Christmas Day itself.

For other parents, this is too impractical due to driving arrangements. Think ahead about setting up Skype or Facetime or even preparing a video message for your children on a phone so they can see you on the day.

Other parents like to just have a whole chunk of time in one go, and swap years, so that they minimise travel and disruption around those fairly busy days. Consider your children’s ages and development stages too – is it all too much for them to handle? After all, Christmas festivities can get a bit exciting and it may not work for your children to take them out of one tumultuous household and bring them to one with yet another festive atmosphere and a whole lot more relatives who may be little known to a young child.

Whatever arrangement is reached, parents then swap the arrangement in alternate years to ensure both parties feel the agreement is fair to both while maintaining the best interests of the child.

Do you need help negotiating parenting arrangements? Please contact Cristina Huesch here at Alliance Family Law to discuss your specific situation.

Read more, including more general holiday parenting arrangement tips, in this newsletter:


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