Unfortunately, being a father with or without Parental Responsibility for your children does not automatically give you the right to spend time with them over the Christmas holidays, unless you have an agreement or a Court Order.
We recommend trying to work through any differences and placing them to one side by putting the children first especially over the festive period. The following tips are suggested: -
Try to plan a schedule, whether by text/WhatsApp or email. Last minute discussions can add to the stress and feelings of panic therefore it is best to avoid this as early as possible.
You may even think about attending mediation which can be a starting point for you and your estranged spouse/partner to re-establish good communications.
It is important to remember that it is not about 'your time and my time' with children. Children should enjoy the festive period especially Christmas Eve which should be made a fun and enjoyable time by you and the other parent.
If your spouse/ partner has already planned Christmas with the children and they are excited about these plans do not cause disappointment for the children by attempting to change these plans. Perhaps ask that you Skype/Facetime with the children on Christmas Day but, bear in mind that Christmas Day can be exhausting for them and they may not interact well during such a Skype or Facetime session. Try not to attribute blame to cover up your own inevitable feelings of disappointment. Perhaps suggest that next year the children should spend more time with you over the important Christmas Days.
If you find yourself in a difficult situation be the father your children need by rising above your personal differences and focusing on the children. Maybe ask for the children to spend Boxing Day with you instead. Boxing Day very frequently can replicate Christmas Day so that the children have two Christmas Days, one with each parent.
Is dividing Christmas Day in half really the best option for the children? Is this practicable? Think about the children and ensure that they are not punished as a consequence of your decisions.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.
Our Family Law Team will be happy to assist you with any Family Law issues. For a free initial consultation please telephone on 01245 228106 or email Family@gepp.co.uk