Ask A Lawyer : Managing Christmas and separation as a family
By Rebekah Little, Principal at Apex Family Lawyers & Mediators in collaboration with Kids In Perth 11 Dec 2020
Christmas can be difficult for separated families, especially with conflict between Mum and Dad. It can however still be a time for family celebration and joy. The Family Law Act sets out guidelines to consider:
Children come first… Ensure children have the benefit of both parents having a meaningful involvement in their lives”. Children have a right to enjoy Christmas with both of their parents, and extended families and parents are responsible for this
If you don’t have anything nice to say… “protecting children from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence”. Keep Christmas conflict-free and make it a time of restoration for your family
A failure to plan is a plan to fail… “children have a right to spend time on a regular basis with, and communicate on a regular basis with, both their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development”. Agree the times and dates the children will spend in each home over the holidays and where possible, ask your children what they would like to do.
Other tips for a merry Christmas include:
Set a good example… ask the other parent if they have plans to take the children away over the holidays, what their work commitments are, and work around calendars
Consider going halves… with the other parent in a gift for the children.
Be the bigger person… if you’re doing your best to work with the other parent and they are not, just keep trying, your kids will appreciate it.
Ask for support…Christmas morning when your children are not at home can be emotional. Phone a friend to catch up and don’t sit home alone.
If all else fails… and things go partridge-in-a-pear-tree-shaped, be kind to yourself and rest up while you can.
Plan things to look forward to… a great strategy for thriving during difficulty is to plan exciting opportunities for yourself and your children, no matter how simple.
Looking for more legal advice from Apex Family Lawyers & Mediators, read their article on Child Support here.
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