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It’s the most wonderful time of year – What to do when separation makes Christmas time not so wonderful?

It’s the most wonderful time of year – What to do when separation makes Christmas time not so wonderful?

Amelia Cox – Family Law Practice Team Leader

For many of us, Christmas time is synonymous with family time. The school term draws to a close and, for the lucky ones amongst us, time is taken off work for some well-deserved R&R. For separated parents, however, Christmas can sadly be a very stressful period for the family.

Fail to plan is a plan to fail

With Christmas only a few short weeks away, you and your ex-partner should be planning Christmas arrangements now to avoid unnecessary stress closer to the big day.

Your first step should be to communicate your Christmas plans with the children to your ex-partner. When making Christmas plans, you must consider the practical impact on your children. We recommend that you consider the following:

  • Where does each parent plan to celebrate Christmas? How long will the children be in the car driving on Christmas Day?
  • What are your Christmas Day plans? Can you be flexible? For example, could one parent celebrate on Christmas Eve or could the children celebrate Christmas lunch with one parent and dinner with the other?
  • Where will changeover be? Don’t forget plans to drive the children around will mean no glasses of champagne!

If you simply cannot agree, your next step would be to schedule Family Dispute Resolution such as mediation. Parents can attend mediation themselves or have their solicitor attend with them. Remember, mediation services become very busy in the lead up to Christmas, so it is important not to delay scheduling Family Dispute Resolution.

Another option is to contact your Family Law Solicitor. Your solicitor can provide you legal advice and attempt to negotiate Christmas arrangements on your behalf.

Save the date  – 4pm Friday 12 November 2021

If, after taking genuine steps to resolve your dispute, you and your ex-partner still cannot agree about Christmas, you may need to commence proceedings in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. Applications in relation to time with children over Christmas must be filed no later that 4pm on 12 November 2021. This is to ensure that the Court has adequate opportunity to deal with your matter prior to its closure over Christmas.

If you are having trouble with your ex-partner regarding Christmas arrangements, please do not delay in contacting our friendly Family Law Team. Your solicitor may need time to meet with you and to prepare your court documents.

Christmas is coming! If you need advice regarding Christmas or any other your family law matters, please contact Brazel Moore Lawyers on 4324 7699.