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“There are no hard and fast rules about how your Christmas contact will look; every family is different.”

Whether it’s your first Christmas as a separated family or it’s your twentieth, this time of year can present challenges when the children are living in two homes. One survey I read said that children stop believing in Santa at around the age of 8! Childhood passes quickly, and it’s important to make the most of it when they are young. It’s supposed to be a magical time, so forward planning is key to making sure that any conflict between parents doesn’t spill over and spoil what should be a special time for the kids. Not only that but there might be extended family who would like to spend time with the children too.

With so much to organise at what can be a busy time of year, by prioritising early discussions with each other, parents can make sure that their homes are peaceful and loving places for children to enjoy Christmas. Children thrive on routine, and it is better for them to know in advance what the arrangements are going to be so they can relax and enjoy spending time with each of you in both homes.

If you just can’t speak to the other parent directly, then it is really important to instruct an experienced family lawyer as soon as you can. We will negotiate on your behalf and do everything we can to ensure there is an agreement reached on your time with the children as soon as possible. As well as writing to the other parent, we can also ask that they come along to a meeting with their solicitor to discuss the childcare arrangements. This keeps you at the forefront of the decisions being made and gives you and the other parent a safe place to try to discuss things together with the support of your lawyers.

We can also offer mediation if you are both able to be in a room together (or virtually) to discuss things with the help of a mediator. A compromise may need to be found, and neither of you may end up with exactly what you were looking for. The important thing is for each of you to spend time with your children in a way that works for them. No parent should withhold contact from the other parent without there being concerns about the children’s safety and welfare.

Father and Son wave during video chat on computer for Christmas contact

There are no hard and fast rules about how your Christmas contact will look, and every family is different. Some parents share Christmas Day morning and afternoon, alternating. Some families share Christmas Day and the New Year alternatingly. Some families share Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We’ll always work to find out what will suit you and your children best. The children can benefit from having Santa come twice!

If no agreement is reached, then you may have to go to Court. A Writ will have to be prepared for you and lodged at Court. The children’s principal birth certificates will be needed. By going to Court, you put the decision in the hands of the Sheriff. Depending on how the Court system is operating, there could be a delay in having your case heard, although we will make every effort to seek an urgent hearing for you.

Of course, it’s not just the time you will each have with the kids that you will want to agree on. Decisions about what presents to buy will also need to be made. Agreeing on a budget for the presents can help, as well as agreeing on what the gifts will be for each child. It’s also important for you to make sure you are supported by friends and family at this time. When the kids go to the other parent’s home, you might feel alone and lonely, or you might be entirely content to have a break. Having a plan for what you will do when the kids are not with you will help you manage your feelings.

Our Head of Department and Director, Judith Higson, and Senior Associate Director, Nicola Buchanan, are both Accredited Family Law Specialists, Accredited Mediators and Collaboratively Trained Solicitors. We have a wealth of experience spanning several decades to meet all of your family law needs. We are ably assisted by our Assistant Solicitor, Laura Cousins, and Paralegal, Liz Semple. We can be contacted on 0141 374 2121 or See our website for more information:

The content of this article is for information only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice, and should not be treated as a substitute for specific advice. Scullion LAW accepts no responsibility for the content of any third-party website to which this article refers.

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