A divorce is never easy, especially when dependent children are involved, but agreeing childcare arrangements at Christmas can be particularly emotive and challenging as neither parent wants to miss out on key Christmas memories with their children.
As a Resolution-accredited solicitor, Andy Stout has significant experience in helping clients reduce conflict during the divorce process and reach mutually acceptable childcare arrangements.
How can a Resolution-accredited lawyer help you?
Andy explains that members of Resolution, the association of family lawyers, sign up to a recognised code of practice that promotes a constructive approach to family law issues, which addresses the needs of the whole family and not just the couple divorcing.
Resolution-accredited professionals work alongside parents to create practical solutions, helping them to reduce conflict and animosity, and establish a positive and reasonable agreement for co-parenting in the future.
Andy notes that even when communications are strained between separating couples, parents remain parents both during and after a divorce, so it’s important to keep the children’s welfare front of mind to minimise any impact on them, especially when approaching emotive subjects such as Christmas childcare arrangements.
Agreeing childcare arrangements at Christmas
Given the last two years, quality time spent with family and loved ones at Christmas seems more important than ever, but a reasonable approach to proposed childcare arrangements needs to be taken by both parties to ensure that children will have the best possible festive period.
Christmas should not be an opportunity to score points off each other, Andy says and if communications are already strained, then engaging with a lawyer who is focused on helping you to negotiate your situation with the least amount of conflict and who will keep your children’s welfare at the forefront of any key decision-making, is a worthwhile investment in the future happiness of your family.
Tips for making child arrangements at Christmas
Plan early – it’s key to start discussing plans as early as possible so both parties have a chance to put their preferred options forward for consideration. If communications between couples are emotive and fraught, then seek advice from a qualified legal professional on the best way to agree common ground.
Don’t make the pandemic an excuse – hopefully there won’t be another lockdown, but it has been made clear by the government that pandemic restrictions should not prevent children moving between separated parents, as long as they are not self-isolating.
Be flexible – Andy advises all parties to remain as fair and flexible as possible during the negotiations and to think of the children’s wellbeing first. Make it a Christmas they will want to remember.
Reduce stress – to minimise stress where possible, childcare arrangements should remain close to the children’s usual routine to maintain consistency and stability. Depending on their age, it may be worth asking their opinion, so they feel involved and more secure with the final decision too.
Be considerate – try putting yourself in your partner’s shoes when considering each other’s demands. Would you be happy with your proposed arrangements if the same applied to you the following Christmas? If not, then you should consider what compromises need to be made to move forward constructively and sensitively.
Andy’s final piece of advice is that divorce will rarely be easy or emotionless, but a ‘good divorce’ can be achieved if both parents can resolve matters with minimal conflict and agree childcare arrangements without an adverse effect upon their children.
The sympathetic and supportive Family Law team at Tallents Solicitors is here for anyone needing legal advice. We have a free family law clinic every Tuesday evening between 5pm and 7pm, just call 01636 813411 to speak to someone in confidence.