The trials and tribulations of co-parenting at Christmas

Now that Christmas is upon us, it seems a good time to reflect on a difficult issue – how to co-parent through separation. Where and with whom the children of separated parents will spend the Christmas period is often a matter that causes considerable disagreement, and for many is, understandably, a particularly emotional topic.

Our aim here at Moore Barlow is to assist families with effective co-parenting and navigate the difficulties that arise as a result of separation with the aim of working together with our clients to resolve their issues and to keep matters out of court. We want to help manage co-parenting expectations, so that families can come to an outcome that works for everyone. Moore Barlow’s family lawyers are members of Resolution, a family justice organisation whose members are committed to helping families and individuals to resolve matters in as constructive and conciliatory a manner as possible. Each year, Resolution campaigns on a policy issue informed by the experiences of its members when dealing with issues of divorce and co-parenting.

In recognition of the pressure that the coronavirus pandemic has put on families – particularly those who are separating – resolution identified that effectively co-parenting in this environment was a major issue and therefore put together a Parenting Through Separation guide, which contains advice to help parents put their children first whilst dealing with the practical, financial and the emotional issues that arise during separation and divorce. You can access a PDF version of the guide here. Matters concerning children are not limited to with whom they should live and spend time with – throughout their childhoods, many other decisions will arise, such as educational and medical decisions that have to be made.

Specific sections of the guide address Christmas and how to approach the same with the co-parent, with the main focus being on making the arrangements fair and without asking a child to choose where they wish to spend Christmas.

At Moore Barlow, we are very conscious of the difficulties that parents face when separating, which are heightened at this time of year as a result of the Christmas festivities and family gatherings. Working out what arrangements are best for the children of the family, and communicating with an ex-partner about the same, can often prove an area of conflict – particularly where the circumstances of the separation are not amicable. Special days and holidays can, understandably, be a source of considerable dispute between parents, with the Christmas period being notably difficult.

We have a breadth of experience in assisting clients with negotiating and agreeing these matters and, where the circumstances require it, advising them through the court process. However, we view court proceedings very much as a last resort and will consider each client’s circumstances and family dynamic to determine what form of resolution process might assist them best and signpost our clients accordingly.

If you would like to speak us about how to co-parent and the best ways to resolve family disputes, please contact one of our experienced Moore Barlow Family Lawyers.