Tips for separated parents at Christmas

PUBLISHED: 12:40 19 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:45 19 October 2016

Archant

Some guidance for separated parents by Veronica Gilmour

As Christmas approaches, the prospect of having to organise all the presents, food and entertaining is often quite daunting but, if you have recently separated or divorced, it can be an extremely challenging period, particularly if you have to negotiate the minefield of where and with whom the children are to spend Christmas and the New Year period.

Emotions can run very high as the big day approaches as it’s a special time of year for adults and children alike and everyone feels under pressure to make it as magical as possible. While it may be tempting to leave the arrangements to the last minute, that is not fair on anyone and having to make an emergency application to the court if there is a dispute is never a good position to find yourself in.

Here are some tips for coping with Christmas that should help the festive season run smoothly:

• Plan well ahead and agree the arrangements well in advance. If you are struggling to reach agreement, perhaps consider mediation as your first port of call. Mediators are very adept at dealing with these issues and can do so in a timely and relatively cheap way.

• Aim to share a child’s Christmas list with your ex-partner/ spouse if possible and to agree who will buy what to avoid disappointment for all concerned on Christmas morning. It is also helpful if an agreement can be reached about the amount of money to be spent on the child and whether there should be a joint present from the parents. Avoid getting caught in a cycle of trying to outdo the other parent - while your child may feel that this is to their advantage, in the long run it is not.

• By making the arrangements early, you will also know which days you are going to be without your children and can make plans to spend them with other family members and friends rather than being alone. On the other hand, many people cherish the time alone and, if you are one of those, then be confident enough to turn down those social invitations that really don’t interest you. Christmas

is only another day and, if you don’t want to be on your own, there are many organisations looking for volunteers over the Christmas period.

• Although it maybe difficult at times, try to remain positive about the arrangements for the sake of the children. The reality is that it may not be possible to spend the whole of the Christmas period with them but you should make the most of the time that you do have together.

• Finally, don’t forget how unsettling Christmas can be for the children too. When you were altogether as a family, you will have had shared traditions over Christmas. Think about whether it’s appropriate to continue them or whether to start new ones.


Sadly, this is also a time of year when many parents decide to stay together for one last Christmas before separating in the New Year. This will undoubtedly be a stressful time for all the family but focus on the reasons why you have stayed together, try to put your differences behind you, call a truce on arguments, and put the needs of your children first. Just try to have the happiest Christmas possible.

For advice on the full range of family law issues, please contact Veronica Gilmour in the Guildford office of Penningtons Manches on 01483 791 800 or visit our website at www.penningtons.co.uk

More from Surrey Life

16:16

At Sir William Perkins’s School (SWPS) the aim is to build confidence, integrity and excellence in a caring, innovative and happy community so that each student leaves with the best possible chance of achieving her full potential and ready to take on the world.

Read more
11:43

If the colder weather is making you feel like escaping to somewhere snug and cosy, you might be surprised to find some perfect rural retreats right on your doorstep. Here’s our pick of the best to discover in Surrey…

Read more
11:33

Get ready to laugh, boo and hiss, and cheer on your favourite childhood heroes in the array of pantomimes coming to Surrey theatres this Christmas

Read more
11:01

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Yesterday, 16:01

Actress, singer and entertainer, Anita Harris has travelled the world in an illustrious career that spans over five decades. From her home in Chertsey, she talks to Tinx Newton about the people she has worked with, her tour and life in Surrey

Read more
Yesterday, 14:13

If there's ever a time of year when a brisk, bracing walk is needed, then winter and the lead-up to the festive season is surely it. Here we round up a few of our Surrey favourites

Read more
Yesterday, 13:01

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (14, 15 and 16 December): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Surrey is a county full of festive delights. Think cosy pubs, frosty views and long winter walks. We pick 22 wonderful reasons to spend Christmas in Surrey.

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Surrey this month

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With beautiful countryside, stunning villages and plenty of bluebells during spring, Surrey is an amazing place for a stroll

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Pupils at The Hawthorns School in Bletchingley collected over 5,800 items of food for the Loveworks foodbanks in Reigate and Merstham

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

We’ve teamed up with Grand Illusions to give one lucky reader the opportunity to win a £250 gift card with the stylish homeware brand

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Celebrating its 25 anniversary, Kinghams restaurant is found at the heart of one of Surrey’s most iconic villages. Matthew Williams visits to discover the secrets of its longevity

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

This edition of Surrey Life features all the local ingredients to make this month special

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search