What does Christmas mean to you?
Every family dynamic is unique. For some individuals, this can be the most magical time of the year.
Over the festive season people tend to invest quality time with their family and friends. Activities can include taking the kids to see Santa Claus, sledging in Braehead, decorating ginger bread men, writing Christmas lists, building snowmen, writing Christmas cards, shopping whilst enjoying the sounds of carol singers and admiring the twinkly Christmas lights between Princes Square and George Square in Glasgow.
It is a time to listen to Christmas music and gather as a family to decorate the Christmas tree with baubles, tinsel and lights.
It is a time to reflect on those we have loved and lost, and a time to really appreciate those we love and care for.
It is a time to give and receive presents, eat mince pies, watch loads of festive movies in your PJs, over indulge and experience JOMO (the joy of missing out). Whilst some prefer staying in, others get FOMO (the fear of missing out) and enjoy the fun and laughter of getting glammed up, heading out, sipping champagne and cocktails, dancing on the tables and being the last to leave the office party.
Every experience of this time of year is unique. Some families thrive throughout this time of year whilst others just hold it together.
If you have already split from your ex and are wanting to negotiate child contact we can help you.
There is no denying that the festive period can be a very emotional and difficult time of year for separated families.
Mum and Dad may both wish to spend quality time with their children on Christmas Day, but as we know, some separated adults do not always see eye to eye and arguments can often be triggered when people feel their most vulnerable.
Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins, all bearing gifts of good tidings and great joy, will inevitably also want to see the children too.
Often this can result in a tug of war between the families, with the children caught in the middle which is not fun for anyone!
How can this be avoided?
One option is to seek the advice of an experienced family law solicitor who can help guide you through this potential minefield.
Judith Higson, our specialist Family Solicitor at Scullion LAW is here to help you through the Christmas tug of war family chaos.
She can negotiate Christmas contact on your behalf through corresponding with your ex-partner, or his or her own solicitor.
The desired outcome of negotiation is to reach an agreement that works for your family.
At Scullion LAW, we encourage our clients to plan for the future. We often recommend that separated clients with young children have a Parenting Agreement drawn up, to set out the basis on which contact will take place for years to come.
What is a Parenting Agreement?
Parenting Agreements provide a framework to contact and can be tailored to cater to your family’s specific needs.
Ordinarily, a Parenting Agreement will make provision for how contact is to operate between the children and the non-resident parent on a day to day basis. Provision can also be made for how contact is to operate during school holidays and special occasions such as Christmas. This offers Mum and Dad a degree of clarity and certainty in respect of the contact arrangements, and minimises the need for tricky or awkward conversations in the lead-up to big events.
It is important to bear in mind that such Agreements are not legally binding.
If the contact arrangements detailed within the Parenting Agreement are not adhered to, then the Agreement is demonstrative only of the parties’ intentions at the time it was entered into. However, if both parties are serious about working together to facilitate contact arrangements that are in their children’s best interests, then Parenting Agreements can serve them well.
Another option for resolving child-centred disputes is Mediation.
As the name would suggest, Mediation is organised by an impartial third party, the Mediator, whose role it is to guide the discussions between Mum and Dad. A Mediator does not provide Mum and Dad with legal advice, but rather tells them what the law can do. In this way, Mum and Dad remain at the forefront of the decision-making process.
For Mediation to be effective, both parties must show willing to put their differences aside and work together, in order to reach an agreement that is in their children’s best interests.
There is nothing that captures the magic of Christmas quite like seeing a child’s eyes light up as they open presents from Santa Claus. It is important to negotiate the contact arrangements for the festive period now, so that you can spend time with your little ones on the big day.
Our experienced Family Law Team can help you if you are affected by any of these issues.
Find out more by visiting our website scullionlaw.com or by calling us on 01698 283265 (Hamilton) or 0141 374 2121 (West End of Glasgow).
730 Dumbarton Road
0141 374 2121