The Christ­mas pe­riod can be a stress­ful time for most fam­i­lies. What to serve? What gifts are needed? Where will we spend Christ­mas day?

De­spite the mad rush, it all comes to­gether in the end.

Whether you are a plan­ner or a last-minute Christ­mas or­gan­iser, one thing you should re­ally han­dle now is ar­range­ments for the chil­dren over Christ­mas.

It is not un­com­mon in the months, and even days, lead­ing up to Christ­mas for us to re­ceive fran­tic calls from clients where the other par­ent has changed the ar­range­ments for Christ­mas with­out con­sult­ing them.

Some­times ex­tended fam­ily mem­bers who haven’t been seen for years can give rise to a change of plan to the al­ready agreed Christ­mas ar­range­ments and the other party will not agree to al­ter the changeover time.

Other times, one party sim­ply re­fuses to per­mit the other party to see his/her chil­dren for some rea­son that is not com­mu­ni­cated.

Where par­ties have only re­cently sep­a­rated, they may not have turned their minds to when the chil­dren will spend time with the other par­ent at Christ­mas.

The most im­por­tant rule to re­mem­ber when it comes to Christ­mas ar­range­ments is your chil­dren’s in­ter­ests are the pri­or­ity, not the par­ents’ in­ter­ests.

Chil­dren cher­ish me­mories of time with their par­ents, they do not hold on to me­mories of whether they spent one or two more hours with one par­ent.

See­ing both par­ents on Christ­mas Day or on sep­a­rate days is of­ten never re­mem­bered.

It is the me­mories of how you em­brace the hol­i­day pe­riod with your chil­dren that can last a life­time.

If you do not have ar­range­ments in place for the chil­dren for the Christ­mas pe­riod, we sug­gest you en­gage an ex­pe­ri­enced fam­ily law so­lic­i­tor with­out de­lay to help you ne­go­ti­ate ar­range­ments, ar­range Fam­ily Dis­pute Res­o­lu­tion or pre­pare an ap­pli­ca­tion to the Court.

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