Christmas Is A Time For Sharing
Helen Benussi, Director at Benussi & Co Ltd, Divorce and Family Law firm, looks at ways to manage during a divorced family Christmas.
Christmas conjures up images of children’s laughter, sleigh bells and family gatherings, but for divorced couples with children, the picture can be starkly different.
The festive season is a frantic time even for the happiest of families. For those coping with separation it can be a frightening prospect with feelings of guilt, frustration and anger all surfacing.
In our experience, taking a balanced view with a positive approach will allow children the opportunity to share their parents, making a calmer, happier festive season.
If it is the first time that Christmas will be spent away from your children, we encourage you to make memories rather than focusing on the date itself.
It is natural that the partner who will not be involved on Christmas Day will feel the separation deeply, particularly at the most family-oriented time of the year. Being able to keep busy and plan around the date has helped many of our clients to cope with sharing children at this time.
There may be pressures from family and friends during the build up, but forcing the children to choose between a parent is something we would never advise. Handing the children over on Christmas Day is also not advisable. Children can find this very unsettling.
If there are two homes that want to celebrate, but only one Christmas, it is wiser to divide the holidays by listening to the children’s wishes first and foremost. This can be planned well in advance, so that everyone knows where they stand in good time.
It is not so much about what is fair to adults as keeping the children’s needs at the forefront. Planning an alternative Christmas well in advance, gives everyone the time to adjust to a new way to celebrate.
There can be few things worse than warring parents for children. By contrast, having two happy and peaceful parents is far preferable to them.
If you are without the children try to plan some positive events for yourself by visiting friends or catching up with family who will look after you during this difficult time.