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Christmas contact with your children, how many sleepless nights to go?

Christmas Hamper Competition

Christmas contact with your children- how many sleepless nights to go? Christmas is an exciting and happy time but for some families it can be a stressful time. Separated parents can disagree about which parent should have the children to stay over Christmas, particularly in the first Christmas after they separated. If there is no agreement the courts may need to intervene to make decisions including the arrangements for holiday contact.Christmas contact with your children, how many sleepless nights to go? Cheshire family solicitors Stonehewer Moss advise on the benefits of some goodwill to all persons this year.

Each case will be determined on the facts involved. The courts duty is to achieve an arrangement best for the child and will consider the “welfare checklist” to aid a decision about the child’s best interests. If the parents live close to each other, Christmas day may be shared with the child spending half the day with each parent. Another approach is to alternate the arrangements so the child might spend Christmas eve and Christmas day with one parent one year and with the other parent the following year. For very young children the importance of locus to the chimney to and from which Santa will effect entry and egress was once thought key.

In the run up to Christmas the family court can be busy dealing with unhappy disputes about Christmas arrangements for children to see each parent. Try to agree the arrangements well in advance or seek an out of Court resolution.The rules of court require an applicant to enquire with a mediation service and certify mediation was unsuitable or not taken up by the other parent before you start the case at court. Some exemptions exist but this requirement can delay a satisfactory outcome. The court has a process to follow once application is made, including the referral to cafcass for safeguarding information to be obtained on both parents. The court will not make orders absent safeguarding information and the first hearing will be at least 6 weeks from the start of the case. The Christmas holiday is unlikely to be viewed as an emergency requiring urgent treatment by the court. Parents obstructing contact or withholding a child could face emergency application for a live with order, formerly called residence if the usual arrangement for the child has been disturbed without agreement. It has been noted that a change of attitude to spending time at Christmas is in the ether at court, with the former logic of a child needing to wake up where Santa arrives no longer being the base position of many judges. Denying a child time with a parent this year could result in next year being far different if the opinion of the court needs to be tested. Negotiation and a degree of maturity could be your best option. Christmas contact with your children, how many sleepless nights to go? Keep some perspective and remember what was important to you as a child.

For advice negotiation and representation in child arrangements issues in Cheshire please call 01606 872200 e mail visit





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Stonehewer Moss Solicitors, Citadel House, Solvay Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 4DP

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