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Christmas needn’t be stressful for separated parents

An expert in family law is offering tips for separated parents on how to have a stress-free Christmas.

As the festive season approaches, Lancashire based Napthens solicitors is highlighting the importance of minimising the impact of separation on families and children during the period.

Helen Lucking, Family partner at Napthens, recommends that plans are put in place as early as possible, so that arrangements are clear and both parties know where they stand.

Parents are advised not to put pressure on children by asking them who they would like to spend Christmas with, as this can cause distress and guilt.

If relations are fairly amicable, Napthens advises to make the most of this by spending key moments together as a family, such as opening presents on Christmas morning or sitting down for dinner.

Helen said: “Christmas can be particularly difficult for separated parents, as it is a time when traditionally families come together. Though separation can be distressing, it is best to try to remain positive for children.

“Every family has different arrangements that work for them, so it is important to work these out early on so there is no confusion or disruption.”

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics state that in England and Wales in 2012, 48 per cent of divorcing couples had at least one child aged under 16 living with the family.

Napthens has been raising awareness of the alternative options to court in Family proceedings, encouraging people to explore avenues such as mediation, collaborative law and arbitration.