Christmas is traditionally a time for families, a season of good will to all. But what if you no longer live together as parents? Parenting after parting is no easy matter, even when relations are good, and that is not always the case. Each year in the lead up to the festive period, tensions mount, like an un-scratchable itch.The reason? Well to some degree this involves a lack of planning or perhaps simply an understandable desire to avoid contact with an ex.A few do’s and don’ts based on experience, personal and professional:


  • Make plans sooner rather than later;
  • Consider the practicality of what you are suggesting: where is everyone going to be and when?
  • Consider what the children want to do:you know them best, what would do they really want to do?
  • Be flexible
  • Make any arrangements in writing so you are clear on what you have said and is going to happen.
  • Remember the law focuses on the children, their wishes and feelings and what they want, not on parents.


  • Leave everything until the second week of December……you can’t do this on Amazon.
  • Focus just on turns, as in “it’s my turn this year”: consider what your children want to do with youand how you can do this
  • Pressurise the children by saying how much you will miss them etc: how would you feel in their shoes?
  • Tell their other parent what you have planned: parenting by dictat does not work, it causes resentment.
  • Respond to every email immediately and resist war by text: read, consider and respond to any proposal in a measured way.

If you start this dialogue earlier enough, clear arrangements can be made and if this proves impossible there is time enough for you to do something about it. Few family solicitors encourage going to court: it is a tool of last resort, but if you want a Judge to make a decision in time, bear in mind it will take weeks to get a case to an initial hearing, so sending papers to court must be done in a timely way.

If you are having difficulty with your child arrangements, the assistance of a family lawyer can prove invaluable. HPW solicitors, based in Hammersmith, can assist you with all family law queries. Please contact our family law expert, Jim Richards, on 0208735 9787 or email,


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