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Sing with me…………

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”

“All I want for Christmas is you”

“Have yourself a merry little Christmas”

The reality is, however, for many families, Christmas is anything but joyful.  Rather, it can be a period of distress, conflict and grief.  For those who are facing their first Christmas following a separation, it can be a huge reality check in terms of how life may look moving forwards. For others, Christmas can be a painful reminder of a family that once was.

In terms of parenting arrangements, the prospect for arguments over the Christmas period increases significantly – who will the children wake up with on Christmas morning to open their presents from Santa? Where will the children have Christmas lunch and/or dinner?  Who picks up and who drops off? What time and where? Etc, etc, etc…..

Parents can find it very difficult spending part or all of Christmas Day without their children. The key, however, is to ensure that the children have the best Christmas possible. Kids do not want to hear their parents and/or extended members fighting. They want to have a good time with everyone – it is Christmas after all!! 

The time has come and gone for any Court intervention to settle arrangements for Christmas – the last day for filing any such Application was 12 November. So, if assistance is required, the parties’ solicitors will need to negotiate arrangements. Ideally, of course, parents should try and sit down together to work it out themselves.

Children are not ‘possessions’ to be divided between you on a percentage basis – they are little human beings. Parents will be parents, god willing, for the rest of their lives and there will be many Christmases to come. One of my favourite lines in the decades I have worked in family law was from a truckie bloke – tattoos, shaved head, singlet – who instructed me to agree to arrangements for the children proposed by mum even though I thought he was getting a bad deal. When I queried him as to why he was agreeing, he said whilst he would miss his children, he knew that they would be happy and, the immortal line, “I love my kids more than I hate my missus”. I have repeated that line to clients ever since – especially during the Christmas period.

I wish all parents would keep that in mind during Christmas and, indeed, throughout the whole year.