Friday, 14 December 2012

Negotiating Christmas when you’re divorced with children

Traditionally, Christmas is a time for families to come together and spend quality time with one another. However, modern families are becoming increasingly complex and the prospect of negotiating a happy Christmas can be daunting. This year, 9,453 people filed for divorce in Scotland alone so sadly it is all too common for Christmas to be consumed by family politics and custody arguments.

If you're divorced with children, it is unlikely you'll be happy to spend Christmas with your ex, but who should get the children? 

If you're fortunate enough to be on good terms with your ex partner, plan access as early as possible and try to be fair. Perhaps one of you could have them in the morning and swap for the afternoon? Or if you live far apart, one of you could have them on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day and swap next year? 

If you and your ex are not on speaking terms, involve a third party (such as a solicitor) to arrange access agreements and have them written down. Alternatively, a relationship counsellor is not just for those currently in a relationship, they can help you negotiate an amicable break-up and assist you in discussing arrangements, such as access.

Christmas is a time for children, so their happiness is the most import thing. Consult with them about what they would like to do, but be careful not to pressure or guilt them in to choosing to spend Christmas with you. 

Christmas is likely to be a difficult time for them as well as you, so make sure you talk to them about their feelings and reassure them Christmas will still be magical. Divorce is a big change for any family, but it is also a chance to create new and amazing experiences that can become family traditions for years to come.

If your partner has the kids over Christmas and you find yourself alone, use the time in a positive way. Have some 'me' time - do those things you're normally too busy to do. Alternatively if you really dislike the idea of Christmas alone, call your local hospital or charities to see if they need some extra help. Did you know that giving your time to help others can have some really positive benefits for your own health and wellbeing? Or perhaps look around for single events - you’ll be surprised how many others are in the same boat as you and Christmas might end up bringing you some new friends.

The most important thing is to enjoy the time you have with your children - your experiences with them now will form your memories of the future!

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes at times like this the family needs counselling ,especially the children who is finding it very hard to cope up. Depressed kids is not something a parent should ignore.