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Top Tips for Child Arrangements over Christmas

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Sadly, January is often the time when we are contacted the most for advice on divorce after the last family Christmas. Whether a family stays together for the sake of the children or, it has all become too much and it’s a new year, a new start.

However, if you are considering a divorce or if you have already separated and facing your first Christmas without your children. Then how do you still make it a magical time of the year for the children?

Christmas Childcare Arrangements

Our divorce solicitors help many clients throughout the year and one question they often get asked is about contact and residence at Christmas time to help manage childcare arrangements.

“To have the happiest of Christmases and make it as stress free as possible for parents, we always recommend that clients plan regarding the festive arrangements. The same is true for other holiday periods.

The best thing parents can do is to try not to leave it until the last minute so everyone knows what they are doing and can plan their own special events and above all, make sure the children have certainty and security,” said family law paralegal Emily Gardner.

Top Tips for Childcare Arrangement

  • Communicate: Speak with the other parent away from the children. If the children are old enough, then ask them what they would like to do.
  • Share: Consider sharing the Christmas period equally - Christmas Eve to midday Christmas Day and then the rest of Christmas Day and Boxing Day with the other parent. Then alternate this each year. The same is true for any other religious festival or celebration.
  • Alternate Years: If parents do not live near each other, the court may well have decided on an alternate year provision.
  • Mediation: If you can’t agree on the child's arrangements mediation can help, sometimes a non-partial 3rd party can ease tensions and find a common ground. Christmas is a busy stressful time and mediation can be done via video conferencing which could help and parents don’t have to be in the same room.
  • Specialist Advice: Speak to your divorce solicitor if you have any questions or concerns – often they can inform you of the best way forward.
  • Court: If all that fails an application could be made to court but the court prefers for families to work out arrangements between themselves. It is unlikely for the court to deal with an application issued in December as they will not see this as an urgent matter. This is also costly and could result in an order neither parent is happy with.

“Divorcing parents must put the welfare and happiness of their children first and this is even more relevant at this time of year. I would say December is too late to have made these major decisions. Parents should think ahead for other events in 2023 and let children know where they will be and when,” said Emily.

How can we help

If you need legal advice on divorce and separation our specialist family solicitors are here to help. They can offer advice without any obligations but can steer and guide you through this process. For more information get in touch at 0161 785 3500 or

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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