Focusing on your child is the greatest gift of all at Christmas for separated families

Lauren Soutar Solicitor
December 5, 2022

A Cheshire-based family law specialist feels that focusing on what is best for the child is key to an amicable Christmas when parents are separated.

According to the latest figures released by the Government’s Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) using the Family Resources Survey (FRS), there are 3.6 million children from 2.3 million separated families in Great Britain.

With the festive period on the horizon, plans are being put in place regarding how Christmas will look and when parents will see their children.

Lauren Soutar, member of the family department at Watsons Solicitors, said: “The main thing to focus on is what is best for the child or children when it comes to discussing arrangements over the holiday period.

“Also, whether you agree or disagree with the other person, it’s important to be respectful, stay as courteous as possible, and keep correspondence brief and informative.”

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day are often the focus of festive arrangements.

Lauren, who is working towards the Law Society’s Children Law Accreditation, has highlighted some helpful tips to make the season as affable as possible.

Advice to give yourself and your loved ones a chance of having a fantastic Christmas includes:

Communicate: Start planning negotiations like you would any normal conversation regarding your child or children. If relations are strained, consider using an intermediary to sit in on negotiations.

Compromise and keep cool: It’s vital that both parents keep an open mind and refrain from getting angry when dealing with the wishes of the child involved. If you fail to reach an agreement you could always seek the help of a family law solicitor.

Don’t ask your child to choose: Your child may have their own opinions. Listen to what they have to say, take their wishes onboard, but don’t try and influence them.

Formalise the agreement: It makes sense to put any arrangements down in writing, so everything is in black and white and to iron out any potential issues ahead of time.

Stick to the plan: Don’t deviate from what is in place in terms of handover days and times. If there are any grievances, raise these later, or in private.

Lauren added: “We think of Christmas as a special time of year, but for many it is a difficult period, and children from separated families can have plenty to contend with.

“Making the festive season special isn’t always easy but following some of the tips mentioned can help avoid any extra strain.” 

To speak to a member of the family law team at Watsons Solicitors, please contact enquiries@watsonssolicitors.com or call 01925 571212.

Watsons Solicitors, which has been established for more than 60 years, specialises in family law, employment law, wills and probate, and conveyancing.

The team of experienced solicitors each hold various accreditations and memberships of professional bodies relevant to their expertise, while the firm’s partners oversee all areas of work.

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