Arrangements for Children over Christmas & New Years


10 December 2021

By Farhad Islam

Our top tips for dealing with separations and children during the Christmas and New Year period…

The festive period can be a difficult time for separated parents. If you have not agreed on the child arrangements as yet, time is running out.

If disputes are continuing, you will need to consider whether you require professional help either from a family mediator, solicitor or even the courts.

The Courts will not view resolving which parent your children are to spend Christmas Day with as an urgent issue, so bear in mind that you cannot queue jump the Court list if you have left things until the last minute. For the court to consider issues they must be ‘significant and urgent’ otherwise it is extremely unlikely that your matter will be heard this year.

If you have managed to agree on arrangements then here are some points to consider;-

  1. Try to avoid the children having to be in the car for lengthy periods on Christmas Day.
  2. It is important to remember that children may have some anxiety for the parent left alone, think about making the absent parent accessible by WhatsApp, FaceTime or Skype.
  3.  Don’t try to use the children as a spy on your former partner, or send them home with messages from you. This time is about you and your children, not what your former partner is doing now you have separated.
  4. Do not be tempted to hold the kids to ransom if your ex is late with a child maintenance payment.  Even if your ex has not paid a penny of child maintenance, preventing them from seeing the children could backfire on you. Children are entitled to have contact with both parents, and except in exceptional cases, the family court is likely to agree.
  5. Make sure you are on time – being late for collecting or dropping off the children will only lead to resentment. Whilst sometimes a delay is not within your control, show courtesy and telephone, or text, if you are held up in traffic or know you are going to be late.
  6. Keep children informed about the handover well in advance so nothing comes as a surprise to them. They will need to know; who, where, when, and what! Tell them about the next contact and what you or the other parent plan to do with them. Do not set the children up for something if it is unlikely to happen, like a big trip away, as this will cause disappointment. Only inform them of pre-arranged and booked events.

Our family team are here to help when you have issues

All of our family lawyers are members of Resolution and will be happy to assist you with any Family Law issues.

For a free initial consultation please telephone on 01245 228106 or email

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.