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Articles Family Law 20th Dec 2023

We wish you a Merry Christmas: Our top tips for co-parenting during holidays. The family law 12 days of Christmas – day 12

As we turn our calendars to December, and we can finally start getting into the Christmas spirit, our family law solicitors Alex Haworth and Gemma Nicholls-Webber share several of their favourite family law topics with a festive twist.

Over the first 12 working days of December, they’ll be giving their family law version of the 12 songs of Christmas, where they’ll cover a wide range of questions or issues that often arise when dealing with family law matters…


We wish you a Merry Christmas: Our top tips for co-parenting during holidays

This is our last post in this series, and we hope you have found it helpful. I wanted to finish with some top tips based on our many years of experience in advising separated parents over the holidays.

  1. The child’s best interests
    Life with children is great but unpredictable. Inevitably during holidays, issues come up and must be resolved between parents despite the best laid plans.I find it is helpful in the middle of any turmoil to take a moment and bring focus back onto the child. After all, most parents I speak to want their children to continue to flourish.
    There can be lots of suggestions made by those close to a parent as to what they should do for the best, but ultimately the law is clear that any judge’s focus will be on what is in the child’s best interests. Effectively trying to score points against the other parent and not being pragmatic or child-centred will not go down well if court proceedings are needed about long term child arrangements.
  2. Respect your agreement
    Once arrangements have been made, the child will be expecting those arrangements to happen. We know that these times are difficult for children of separated parents, and one way to minimise their stress is to stick to the agreed arrangements.You may be surprised at how many times I hear that one parent has changed arrangements or timings at the last minute. It may have been out of their control, but if not, then going back to the child’s best interests above, what may feel like a temporary victory could have long term negative effects on the child’s mental health.
  3. Knowledge is key
    Uncertainty is a source of stress for most of us, but even more so for a child at Christmas. If plans must change, then the first step after the parents agreeing any amendments is to explain the situation to the child in neutral terms and so that they know what to expect.
  4. Keep communications open
    What if the child says they are missing the other parent? We have so many options for communication these days that make it easy for them to have a quick call or exchange of messages with that parent. The law favours reasonable indirect contact and crucially it will undoubtedly help the child if they can see that parent promoting contact with the other parent and will assist in reducing the possibility of the child feeling as though they are caught in the middle.

If you or anyone you know would appreciate advice on co-parenting, or any of the other topics we have covered in our 12 songs of Christmas, please contact Alex Haworth or Gemma Nicholls-Webber.


The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.
Gemma Nicholls-Webber

Author: Gemma Nicholls-Webber

Managing Associate

Author: Alexandra Haworth

Senior Associate

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