Festive Season and Family Law

With the festive season upon us, you may be wondering about the care arrangements available for Christmas Day and the holiday period for your children.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to children’s care arrangements. That said, whether by agreement (parenting plan or consent orders) or Orders made by the Court, care arrangements will usually provide for special occasions such as Christmas Day, the Christmas holiday period and provide for children to spend time with each of their parents.

Christmas Day is an exciting time for children of any age and there are a number of ways that children can spend time with both parents on this special occasion.

One option, is for children to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning with one parent and then Christmas afternoon until the afternoon on Boxing Day with the other parent. This type of arrangement will usually alternate between odd and even numbered years and can be implemented in addition to and supplement any other arrangements made for the Christmas school holiday period, including a week on week off arrangements and/or a first half/second half school holiday arrangement referred to below.

Another option is that the children spend the first half the school holidays with one parent, the second half with the other parent and for the children to spend Christmas with the parent who is spending the first half of school holidays with the children. It is usual for this type of arrangement to alternate the parent that spends the first half of the school holidays with the children, based on odd and even numbered years. This results in the children spending both Christmas and the first half of school holidays with one parent in one year, and the other parent the following year.

This can be beneficial for blended households and allow the parent spending time in the first half of the holiday period (including Christmas Day) to travel to see extended family members or for a family holiday with less changeovers in care required during the holiday period.

The best interests of your children are paramount, and you should ensure that any disputes about Christmas do not adversely affect your children. A good way to do this is to ensure plans are made well in advance of Christmas Day.

If you have reached agreement and or already have Orders or a Parenting Plan in place, follow the agreement or Order, as the Court does not look favourably on parties that do not, unless there are proper reasons for not doing so.

If you need to discuss or review your parenting arrangements leading into the Christmas Holiday period, please contact our office on 02 4324 5688 to speak with one of our Family Lawyers to arrange a free initial consultation.

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