With Christmas just over a month away, it will undoubtedly look a lot different for families this year than it has done over previous years. With the lockdown currently planned until 2nd December and following this a return to the tier system, it seems like big parties, meeting friends and big family Christmas’ will have to go a miss this year.
But what do the new lockdown rules mean for families who have separated? Do children have to stay in one place and does that mean one side of the family will have to miss out on a family Christmas? The simple answer to this question, is no.
Under the new lockdown rules, guidance in relation children of separated families has not changed. People in England must currently not leave their house without ‘reasonable excuse’ and on the list of reasonable excuses is, “for the purposes of arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and a child where the child does not live in the same household as their parents or one of their parents”.
This means that over the festive period children will be able to move between households and can spend time with both parents. This of course does mean that the conversation will need to be had over what arrangements are to happen during Christmas. There are many different approaches that a family unit can take, one parent has Christmas day and one has boxing day, Christmas day is split between both or the children are with alternative parents on different years. Families can take different approaches and tailor the agreements as to what fits them best.
When considering contact over the holiday period, what is important is the children and the entire family unit are able to enjoy their time, stress free and without conflict caused by arguments over contact arrangements. The thought of making these arrangements can cause stress and anxiety for parents. If you feel like you are under pressure to make the arrangements or feel that the thought of arrangements is causing you stress and anxiety, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
You can speak to a member of our family team to get a picture of how best to approach this subject with your ex-partner. Alternatively, you can speak to a member of our mediation team if you feel that more detailed discussions are needed. This may be a much quicker way of deciding how contact over the holiday period is to be shared than applying to the courts for a Child Arrangements Order.
You can contact us on 0113 322 9222 to speak to a member of our family team, alternatively check out our dedicated Consilia Mediation website for more information about mediation and our two experienced accredited solicitor mediators, Laura Clapton and Sarah Manning. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.