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What's New? > News & Press Releases > Going Home for Christmas

25

Oct 12

Going Home for Christmas

By: Karen Carpenter

Karen Carpenter

Contact is the term used for arrangements made between parents concerning the time their children spend with the family member that they do not live with on a full-time basis. This is usually mum or dad, but can be any family member.

What people often do not know, or fail to appreciate, is that every child has a fundamental right to have a relationship with his or her parents, whether they live together or whether they live apart.

The issue of contact is of course most poignant at holiday times, particularly Christmas.

The best arrangements are made direct between the parents of the children if this is at all possible. Due to the emotive nature of a separation, they may need the help of a third party:

  1. Mediation: Both parties attend at a mediator's office, where the third party is trained to help facilitate discussions between parents in the hope that agreement can be reached generally.
  2. Collaborative Law process: Both parties and their legal representatives sit around a table and talk through what is best for the family in their particular circumstances. This format can be used not only for child-based issues but also financial and general issues concerning the separation.
  3. Negotiation between solicitors: This is the traditional way, where each party has their own legal adviser and correspondence is exchanged in the hope that negotiations can lead to reaching an agreement.
  4. Court Application: The last resort always has to be the issuing of formal court proceedings when a Judge and CAFCASS Officer (Children & Families Advisory Service) become involved.

Christmas is a difficult time for making these arrangements. Trying to reach a fair agreement and compromise in the best interests of the children is never easy.

Some thoughts about how Christmas contact can be approached is:

  1. Find a way to enable the children to see both parents on Christmas day.
  2. Alternating Christmas Day and Boxing Day on a year-to-year basis, together with the New Year period.

If you require advice on any child related issues and are having difficulties with regard to organising contact generally, please contact either Karen Carpenter or Rachel Compton on 01353 662203 or via www.wardgethinarcher.co.uk

This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek our specific advice.