Wealden Times | WT213 | November 2019 | Gift supplement inside

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Wealden Times - The lifestyle magazine for the Weald

How to share Christmas

Whilst there will always be those who complain about the commercialisation

of Christmas, no one can doubt that it remains a time of magic and excitement

for children of all ages.

As parents, we do all we can to ensure that

our children have a wonderful time and

that the magic is protected for as long as

possible. This can be stressful enough at

the best of times, but it can become so

much more difficult following a divorce

or separation. Emotions may be running

high, particularly if the separation is recent,

finances are likely to be more stretched and

to top it all, arrangements must be made to

ensure that children can spend time with

both parents over the Christmas period.

Any family lawyer will tell you that even

the most amicable couple can find this

a difficult issue and whilst it might be

tempting to ask the children, particularly

older ones, what they would like to happen,

be prepared for the additional burden of

guilt that is bound to follow the likely reply

that what they really want, is for the family

to be together at Christmas.

So is it possible to resolve such a potentially

fraught issue without tears? Absolutely it is,

but only if the adults involved are able and

prepared to make a huge effort to remind

themselves that, just as when they were

together, they need to concentrate on

doing their best to make this time special

not for themselves, but for their children.

The earlier discussions can take place the

better, as that should avoid the need for

previous arrangements to be altered or

cancelled and also allows a parent facing

Christmas Day without the children to

make the best of the situation, possibly

by arranging to spend the day with other

parents in a similar position.

Sadly however, there will always be some

couples who really struggle to reach an

agreement and who will need assistance in

settling matters. Whilst courts can assist

and indeed are often called upon to decide

on arrangements in the weeks running up

to Christmas, this really should be seen as a

last resort.

Not only are court proceedings expensive,

but court lists are busy at the best of times

and often there is simply no time for a court

to hear an application in time for Christmas.

But even more fundamentally, bear in mind

that nothing will destroy any remaining

vestige of goodwill more than contested

court proceedings. Better alternatives

are mediation or collaborative law, both

of which can assist couples in reaching

an agreement. Yes, this may well require

compromise on both sides, but it will

certainly be worth it if it allows the children

to enjoy time with both their parents over

this special time.

If you would like further advice,

we offer a free 30-minute meeting.

Please contact our team secretary

Louise Huxstep on

T: 01892 502 338 or

E: LHuxstep@bussmurton.co.uk

and quote “Wealden Times”.

Please get in touch Please with our get Family in touch team with who our will Family be happy team who to help. will be happy to help.

Melanie den Brinker Margaret Evans Lora Grogan Amanda Jardine-Viner

Julie Taylor

Kristy Underwood

www.bussmurton.co.uk T: 01892 510 T: 01892 222 510 2

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