The Holidays Are Coming

Richard Gilbert
19 October 2022

If the retailers are to be believed it is never too early to prepare for Christmas. Well, that’s certainly true if you have children who do not live with both parents due to separation or divorce. 

Now that we’re hurtling through autumn, we are only 10 weeks away from the festive season.  This means, if arrangements have yet to made where and with whom children are going to spend Christmas and the New Year period, parents had better get their skates on, particularly if this is going to prove difficult to resolve. 

The ideal would be for both parents to sort these arrangements out between themselves. If that it is the case, it is a good idea to follow any verbal agreement up with an email or text message setting out what has been agreed, so there can be no confusion later on, especially if this involves any form of long-distance travel and the booking of tickets and the organising of passports and covid passes. 

For parents who find communicating directly with each other a challenge, there are other options available to them: 

  • They could try Mediation. This involves appointing a mediator who will facilitate a discussion between them until they are able to reach an agreement on what the arrangements should be. Lawyers do not necessarily need to be involved in this process. The parents just need to agree on the Mediator to help them through this process. 
  • If the parents prefer a more supported process, then they could opt for each appointing a collaboratively trained family lawyer who can join and support them in the Collaborative Process. This would involve the parents having a discussion on items agreed before each meeting and having their respective lawyers present to help them reach an agreement. 
  • If neither of those options are suitable then parents could opt for the more shielded form of communication through Solicitors. But some parents might find that more threatening, and shy away from responding. 
  • If none of the above options prove successful, then in theory an application to the Court for a specific issues order could be made, but it is unlikely the Court would even get to hear the application before Christmas.  
  • This would leave Family Arbitration. This involves the parents appointing an arbitrator, who will make a decision that will be final and binding between them on any child-related issues arising from the family relationship. 

If you need to discuss any of the issues raised by this article or any other family law matter, then please get in touch with Richard Gilbert at Spencer West LLP on 07802 748308 as soon as possible, to ensure arrangements can be put in place at the earliest opportunity. 

Richard Gilbert
Partner - Family, Contested Trust & Probate
Richard Gilbert is a Partner Solicitor at Spencer West. He specialises in Divorce and separation, finances, arrangements for children, nuptial agreements, living together and separation agreements, cohabitees, challenging a Will or an estate and the way an estate is being administered, Collaborative process.