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Christmas Contact Arrangements for Separated Families

Contact arrangements over the Christmas period can cause upset at a time that should be magical for children. Christmas arrangements need careful planning. There is no specific legal framework setting out the time a child should spend with each parent over the festive season. 

Examples of arrangements that can be considered are:

  • Splitting the school holiday with the child spending one week with one parent and one week with the other.  This means one parent would have the whole of the Christmas period.
  • Christmas Day with one parent and Boxing Day with the other.
  • Christmas Eve until after lunch Christmas Day with one parent and Christmas afternoon and Boxing Day with the other.
  • Alternating the Christmas and New Year period each year.
  • Some parents get on well enough that they can spend Christmas Day together with the children whether at the home of one party or at a restaurant.

If one of the above is agreed parents often alternate the arrangements each year.

If it is impossible for one parent to spend any time with the child, then video calls can be agreed at a convenient time during the day.

You should try and negotiate an agreement about the Christmas period as early as possible as often external factors such as extended family plans or travel arrangements must be considered.  Last minute discussions become more difficult.

Always think about what is best for the child.  Listen to what older children want but don’t put the pressure of making the decision on the child.  Whilst it is hard not to see your child on Christmas Day many children are happy to have two Christmases.

If you cannot reach an agreement, then it is sensible to attend mediation or consult a solicitor to assist you.  Whilst an application to the Court on the issue is possible there are no guarantees that the Court will be able to hear your application in time or give you want you want.  A negotiated agreement is always preferable.  

If you would like to speak to a member of our family team regarding contact arrangements, please call 01689 887887 or email



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Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.