Halving the five-day Christmas window means tough choices for separated parents - National Family Mediation

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Halving the five-day Christmas window means tough choices for separated parents

Conflict or compromise?

The decision for separated parents about where the children will spend Christmas Day can be a massive source of tension at the best of times. Add a global pandemic to the mix, and the next few weeks will heighten the tumult of 2020 still further for many families.

Squeezing ‘Christmas’ into the UK governments’ five-day window of 23 – 27 December will be a challenge for most families up and down the land. For two separated parents – two ‘families’ in effect, the window is halved.

Where will the children wake to open presents on Christmas morning? What about Christmas dinner? And how about visits to and from grandparents and other extended family members, often involving long journeys?

Jane Robey, CEO of the charity National Family Mediation (NFM), says; “Piecing this Christmas puzzle together is going to be tough. And, with family courts logjammed, the only solution is some form of negotiation.

“One Christmas Day compromise might be for the children to wake in the home of one parent, and then go to the other for dinner. Yet whilst compromise is simple on paper, it can be especially hard to achieve when parents aren’t best disposed towards each other following a tense or hostile divorce or separation.

“There is still time to arrange dispute resolution. Involving an expert third party mediator can help resolve Christmas parenting issues.

“Christmas 2020 is going to be hard enough without resentments that have simmered for some time boiling over in the festive period. A parenting plan can be made now, even if it’s just a short-term arrangement to cover the forthcoming strangest of Christmases.”

To find out more about the family mediation service provided by NFM, call 0300 4000 636 or go to www.nfm.org.uk