Christmas is just around the corner and another year is almost over.
The festive season should be a joyous time of year, but it can be a difficult time for some families, especially with the added stress and uncertainty of COVID-19.
For those parties who have separated, are going through a separation or contemplating separating, here are six five tips for getting through the festive season:
- 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 in advance of these ‘special occasions’. Remember to keep the needs of the children at the forefront of your mind in these discussions and be fair and reasonable when negotiating with your partner.
- Ensure that any agreement you reach with your partner about the special occasions and the school holiday period is reflected in writing (text message or email).
- Do not argue or discuss parenting arrangements in the presence or the children. Also ask your family or friends to not discuss your partner in a negative manner in front of the children. It’s easy to get caught up in this trap after a few Christmas drinks but it is important not to negatively influence your children’s relationship or opinion of your partner.
- If you are yet to finalise financial matters, make sure that you budget carefully so that you have enough money 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.
- Make sure 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.
- If you are worried about the impact that COVID-19 could have on your parenting arrangements, you can read my article ‘Six tips to help you navigate a Divorce during COVID-19’. If you or your children have experienced threats or harm, or you are feeling unsafe, you should contact SAPOL.
If you require Family Law advice in the lead up to the Christmas break, our Family Law team at Mellor Olsson is available to assist you. Please call us on (08) 8414 3576 to speak with one of our experienced Family Lawyers.