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December 10, 2014
Child Arrangements Over the Holiday Season

By Sue Holgate

For many of us Christmas is a time usually spent with our family and friends, around the table with probably too much food. But for newly divorced and separated parents, this might be a very different situation.

This Christmas, it’s important to be mindful of children as new parenting arrangements come in to effect over the summer holiday season.

Many parents are going to be separated for the first time this Christmas, but they should not let the pressure of these new arrangements affect their child or children’s welfare.

As parents, we all want the best for our children. And as a family lawyer I know that parenting arrangements can be a source of tension that children can detect.

Setting Realistic Expectations

It’s reasonable to want to spend time with your children these holidays, but it’s also likely that the other parent will want to do the same. Avoiding this clash of expectations is the best way to ensure holidays and special events are stress free for parents and their children.

LBH recommend some tips to help avoid conflict and tension of the Christmas and summer school holidays.

• Communicate with each other and plan the holiday well in advance

• Stick with the arrangements agreed between yourselves or what was ordered by the courts

• Don’t argue in front of your children or with the in-laws

• Protect your children from harm at all times, and

• If you’re not with your children on Christmas, have another celebration when you see them

When Travelling Overseas of Interstate

If you’re planning to travel overseas, it’s important that you check if the terms of any court orders or parenting plans clash with other arrangements.

Even travelling interstate during the summer break could cause legal headaches for parents with shared parenting arrangements, so it’s essential that an agreement is reached well in advance of the planned holiday.

It’s always best to think about travel plans and to talk to the other parent as early as possible to see if they are happy for the children to go on an overseas holiday. If your children don’t have passports, this issue should be discussed earlier rather than later.

The more open and organised you are about your plans for a holiday, the less likely you are to upset other family members.

Anyone requiring more information about parenting arrangements and how it would be applied to individual situations should contact Sue Holgate, Partner at LBH on sholgate@lbandh.com.au