Separated Families – Sharing Christmas with both Parents

The Christmas break is an opportunity to spend quality time with your family, catch up with loved ones and involve the kids in fun Christmas activities to celebrate the season.

For a lot of families, however Christmas Day or the Christmas Holidays are spent broken up between more than one family. You could be visiting lots of family over the break, or your child/children may be spending part of it with you, and part of it with the other parent or part of it with their grandparents.

It is important to remember this is a happy time of the year, especially for children. Therefore parents should make an effort to ensure that this time is enjoyable for your children, particularly if they are spending it between two households.

Burbank & Brown have outlines some tips below to make the Christmas Holiday Break easier for separated families:

  • Be organised and make plans for the Holidays.
  • Communicate with the other parent about what your plans are in relation to the children.
  • Avoid conflict with the other parent. Under no circumstances should you involve your child/children in any conflict with the other parent or any member of their family.
  • Encourage the other parent to get involved with Christmas activities with the child/children and encourage the child/children to enjoy spending time with the other parent.
  • Avoid long drives on Christmas Day if you are splitting up Christmas Day between two parents. Alternatively, make other arrangements. Remember you want your children to have a memorable Christmas Day, and spending it in traffic for hours is not ideal for anyone.
  • If you don’t have a parenting plan or parenting orders, set agreed days or periods of time in which your child/children will spend time with the other parent. This will avoid confusion and any misunderstanding.
  • Notify the other parent if you are running late to a drop-off or pick-up. Be respectful of each other’s time.
  • Respect the other parent’s plans over the Christmas break. Do not make unnecessary changes to plans which interfere with the other parents plans. Always communicate any changes with the other parent in a timely fashion. Be respectful of each other.
  • Always confirm any agreed changes to the plans by text message or by email to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings.