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Ask The Legal Expert: Christmas for Separated Families

View profile for Angela Killa
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Angela Killa, Associate Solicitor within the Family Law team, tackles the issue around planning Christmas arrangements for separated families.

My ex partner and I split this year and I don't want our young daughter to get caught up in any disputes about who has her over Christmas. How should we approach this?

You are wise to think ahead and plan ahead regarding your arrangements for the holiday season. Christmas can put extra stress upon all families, whether they are traditional family units, blended families, or separated families where there is contact with former partners.

If you have a complex family, making Christmas work for everyone takes compromise on all sides. As with all matters concerning children, it is always best for you, as parents, to try to agree well in advance what the arrangements will be over Christmas. This will help give your daughter a feeling of security and it will help everyone settle their plans in good time.

It is likely that that your daughter will want to spend time with both you and her dad over Christmas. If you and your former partner live close to each other, consider sharing the day so your child can have time with you both on Christmas Day. Or, you might agree for her to be with you on Christmas Eve and with her dad on Christmas Day. Why not create your own family tradition, by enjoying two Christmases – one on Christmas Day and one on Boxing Day?

If you, as parents, aren't able to agree upon arrangements, consider meeting with your chosen solicitor who can refer you to an independent mediator. They may be able to help you find a resolution everyone can live with. If mediation doesn’t work, or if you have left it too late to go down this route, you might have to make an application to the Court. The Court will consider all your circumstances before making a decision based on what is in the child’s best interests and, if your child is mature enough, her wishes may be taken into consideration too.

For more information, please contact Angela on: 01267 248893 or by email at:

Angela is an Associate Solicitor in our Family Team, based at our Carmarthen Office. Angela specialises in all aspects of Family Law including complex children matters, divorce and financial remedies. Angela is a member of Resolution, an organisation for professionals committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes, and is also a member of the Law Society's Children Panel.  Angela is a fluent Welsh speaker. 

For further advice, please contact our specialist Family Solicitors in:

  • Swansea: 01792 773773
  • Cardiff: 02920 225472
  • Carmarthen: 01267 234022
  • Caerphilly: 02920 860628
  • Cowbridge: 01446 771742
  • Haverfordwest: 01437 764723
  • Fishguard: 01348 873671
  • Pontypridd: 01443 408455

The question posed is based upon a hypothetical situation.