On the fourth day of Christmas - Have you finalised parenting arrangements for the impending Christmas school holiday period?

Posted by Luisa-Maria Maroun on 19 November 2015
On the fourth day of Christmas -  Have you finalised parenting arrangements for the impending Christmas school holiday period?

Have you finalised parenting arrangements for the impending Christmas school holiday period?

The school holiday period is often marred by disputes between separated parents. At times these disputes are as a result of having no formal arrangements in place regarding the care of the children. In the instances where there are formal arrangements in place such as court orders, parents may argue due to a misinterpretation of the terms of the orders. This issues that are commonly in dispute in such cases, relate to changeover locations and times. As expected, each parent wants to be able to spend time as much time with their children during the school holiday period, especially during the Christmas period when plans are made with immediate and extended families and each parent is wanting to ensure that their children are present and actively involved in the festive celebrations. 

Many parents arrange for extended time off work and plan their vacations beforehand to take advantage of the time that they have with their children.

Consequently, a simple misunderstanding of existing orders or parenting plan can be problematic and cause disagreements between parents. The solution to avoiding these issues is effective communication with your ex-partner about the intended arrangements.

Positive parenting requires a joint effort by both parents.  It is important to bear in mind that parental decisions should be based on what is in the children’s best interests. Often parents forget that post separation; children are confronted with the hard task of adapting to new family arrangements and need lots of encouragement and positive reinforcement from both parents.

Given that the Christmas school holiday period is due to commence shortly, it is important that you confirm your plans for Christmas with your ex-partner, so that there is a mutual understanding as to the children’s care arrangements. You don’t want to be leaving decision for the last minute, especially if you intend on traveling with the children during this time.

The key is to address any issues in a timely manner, so as to avoid being in a situation where the children miss out on spending quality time with each parent.

We offer the following tips for those of you who are trying to finalise parenting arrangements for the school holiday period:

  1. Be flexible and willing to compromise with the other parent for the benefit of your children and use your best endeavors to maintain civil communication with your ex-partner;

  2. Communicate directly with the other parent as opposed to using the children as an avenue through which to relay messages to the other parent.  This not only places an unnecessary burden on the children but it can often dampen their mood and hinder them from enjoying quality time with each parent.  The last thing that you want is for your children not to be excited or looking forward to spending time with you because they know that neither parent is completely happy with the arrangements and there is little encouragement from the parents for the children to enjoy themselves; and

  3. Remember to stay child focused and to always put your children's interests before your own.

If your efforts to communicate with your ex-partner regarding parenting issues proves to be fruitless, you may find it beneficial to seek the assistance of a legal practitioner who practices in the area of family law and is able to guide you towards an positive resolution.