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Christmas can a stressful and emotional time for families experiencing separation. For those parents who have separated or are contemplating going through a separation, here are seven tips to help get you through the Christmas and New Year period.

Tip 1: Reaching a mutual agreement

  • You and your partner should reach a mutual agreement about the time the children will spend with each of you on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day well in advance of these special occasions. Remember to keep the best interests and needs of the children at the forefront of your mind in these discussions. It is also important to be fair and reasonable when negotiating with your partner.

Tip 2: Put it in writing

  • Ensure that any agreement you reach with your partner about special occasions and school holidays is reflected in writing (text message or email).

Tip 3: Parenting arrangements

  • Do not discuss parenting arrangements in the presence of your children. Also ask your family or friends to not discuss your partner in a negative manner in front of the children. It is easy to get caught up in this trap after a few Christmas drinks, however it is important not to negatively influence your children’s relationship with their other parent.

Tip 4: Make a budget

  • If you have not yet finalised financial matters, make sure that you budget carefully so that you have the financial means to get you through the holiday period. If you still share a bank account, set ground rules for how much you are both allowed to access and spend.

Tip 5: Surround yourself with family and friends

  • Ensure that you surround yourself with family and friends so that you do not feel isolated. If you are unable to do so in person, Facetime, WhatsApp and other messaging and video communication apps are great options for staying connected.

Tip 6: Seek support

  • If you feel like your mental health is suffering, do not forget to use support services such as Beyond Blue or speak to your treating medical professional.

Tip 7: Stay safe

  • If you or your children have experienced threats or harm, or you are feeling unsafe, you should contact SAPOL.

How can we help?

If you require advice in the lead up to the Christmas break, our team at Mellor Olsson are available to assist you. You can call us on 8414 3400 to speak with one of our experienced family lawyers.