In our Ask The Legal Expert column we get the latest specialist advice from the Family Law team at JCP Solicitors.
This week, Jill Bulteel, who is head of the Family Law team in South East Wales, and is based in JCP Solicitors’ Caerphilly office, tackles an issue around planning Christmas arrangements for separated families.
My ex-partner and I split this year and I don’t want our young daughter to get caught up in any disputes about who has her over Christmas. How should we approach this?
You are wise to plan ahead regarding arrangements for the holiday season. If you have a complex family, making Christmas work for everyone takes compromise on all sides.
As with all matters concerning children, it is always best for you, as parents, to try to agree in advance what the arrangements will be over Christmas. This will help give your daughter a feeling of security and it will help everyone settle their plans in good time.
It is likely that your daughter will want to spend time with both you and her dad over Christmas.
If you and your former partner live close to each other, consider sharing the day so your child can have time with you both on Christmas Day. Or, you might agree for her to be with you on Christmas Eve and with her dad on Christmas Day. Why not create your own family tradition, by enjoying two Christmases – one on Christmas Day and one on Boxing Day?
If you aren’t able to agree upon arrangements, consider meeting with your solicitor, who can refer you to an independent mediator. They may be able to help you find a resolution everyone can live with.
If mediation doesn’t work, or if you have left it too late to go down this route, you might have to make an application to the Court. The Court will consider all your circumstances before making a decision based on what is in the child’s best interests and, if your child is mature, her wishes may be taken into consideration too.
For more information, please contact Jill Bulteel on 01443 490883 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The question posed is based upon a hypothetical situation.