Have you given thought to the arrangements for your children over Christmas and the Summer Holidays?
If you think you’ll need some input from the Court to make sure you have the chance to spend time with your children over Christmas, you’ll need to start taking some steps now – you don’t have as much time as you think!
Christmas can be a difficult time for parents to navigate an agreement on how the children will spend time with each family. There are so many competing family traditions and special gatherings, coupled with this being such an emotionally driven – as parents, we all want our children to experience the best of times at Christmas; we all want our children to have great memories of their Summer Holidays to take into adulthood.
Now is the time to start the conversation with the other parent – leaving it to November will be much too late! If you don’t have a set arrangement in place, here are some questions you may want to discuss:
- Will you split school holidays equally? If not, what routine will work for each of you given work commitments and leave arrangements?
- What family celebrations are happening over the Christmas period? How can the children enjoy the best of both their families post-separation?
- What can you both do to make sure that Christmas time is about the children – not about the parents. The last thing the children want is to see their parents at war over who gets the Santa Wake-up. That will spoil the children’s Christmas, and be making all the wrong sorts of memories.
If you need help with having these conversations, Mediation is a fantastic way to engage you both in constructive discussions in one setting – you can work out the arrangements and have it written up as a Parenting Plan on the spot. We can help you engage the other parent in Mediation, and put together a proposal for you to take into Mediation – being prepared means you have a better chance of reaching agreement.
Out of ideas?
If these approaches don’t work, you might benefit from talking about your options with a Family Lawyer. Although nobody likes the thought going to Court, sometimes doing so is the only way you can motivate an uncooperative parent to the table. This year’s Court cut-off date for filing any Applications intended to deal with Christmas arrangements is 4:00pm on Friday 8 November.
If you are unsure about what your family plans are, or think you may need the help of Court, we recommend coming to see us in early October to make sure you’re not pushed for time! Cutting it close to the cut-off date increases the risk the Court may not be able to deal with the workload of cases it has to manage before Christmas time. Don’t leave it too late and have the children feeling disappointed that the arrangements all fell over.
It’s our hope that you and your ex will be able to settle the Christmas and holiday arrangements between yourselves. However in the event you need a little extra help we invite you to come in to meet with us to better understand your rights and responsibilities and the options available to you to resolve your situation.
You can reach us on (02) 9523 3007.