‘Tis the season to be jolly! (And navigate Christmas between two households!)

Amanda Doring and Jessica McKinley

Christmas should be a joyous time; however, the reality is that it can often be marred with stress and conflict for separated parents.

The first Christmas is likely to be the hardest for separated couples and for their children. You might have longstanding traditions which have been in place that will inevitably change, you might have travel considerations to factor in and naturally there may be feelings of sadness surrounding the day.

There is no one size fits all for families for the festive season. However, as we are now nearing Christmas, for families without parenting orders or firm arrangements in place, here are some considerations which may be of assistance to you:

  • Consider what your children might like. Do you think they would like to spend time with both parents for Christmas Day, or do you think they would delight at the idea of having two Christmases!
  • Where possible, you and the other parent should be on the same page about gifts for the children. This avoids double ups, disappointments and a sense of inequity if one parent has a greater financial capacity to purchase gifts.
  • Is it possible for your existing traditions to remain or do you need to consider new traditions?
  • If one parent is spending Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with the children this year, could you agree that the other parent will be afforded that opportunity next year?
  • Are there travel considerations that need to be factored in if the children are going to spend time with both families for Christmas Day? If so, how can this be navigated around mealtimes and nap times? If it can’t be, could a Face Time call be scheduled to facilitated with the parent who is not spending Christmas with the children?

If you are separated and planning to travel overseas, click here to read about more tips. 

How we can help

If you, or someone you know, has separated and are looking for parenting advice to assist you through the festive season and beyond, please reach out to our Family Law team or contact us on (02) 8987 0000.

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