How to survive Christmas as divorced parents during COVID-19

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Figuring out how to share Christmas with your ex-partner is difficult at the best of times, so with the addition of COVID-19 restrictions, you’re going to need some help.

COVID-19 has caused problems for people across the country and around the world in 2020, and while the current restrictions are being eased over Christmas, this can still present serious challenges for separated parents of children.

However, with a solid understanding of the rules, careful planning and good communication, it should still be possible to plan a Christmas that works for you and, most importantly, for your children.

What are the rules around spending Christmas with your ex-partner and child?

To plan around your Christmas around COVID-19, you need to know the restrictions. The government have now confirmed that the previously announced measures for the festive period of 23 to 27 December in England and Wales will remain in place.

This Christmas exemption puts in place the following rules for 23 to 27 December:

  • You’re able to form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of up to three separate households – one of these can be an existing bubble arrangement
  • However, a childcare bubble counts as a separate household so that takes up one of your spots
  • You can only be in one Christmas bubble, but Children can be in both of their parents’ Christmas bubbles
  • You’re not allowed to change your Christmas bubble, so choose wisely
  • You are able to travel between different tiers and UK nations to meet people who will be a part of your Christmas bubble
  • You’re only allowed to meet your Christmas bubble in a private home, garden, place of worship or public outdoor space
  • Outside of these places, you can still meet people who are not in your bubble in accordance with the rules of the tier you’re staying in

Remember, these freer restrictions only last between 23 and 27 of December, after that everyone will return to rules of their current tier system.

Is there anything you can do to make the day go more smoothly?

With those restrictions in mind, you can begin to plan Christmas with your family and crucially, with your ex-partner. Here are some tips for how to make the day go more smoothly:

Don’t leave plans until the last minute

Christmas is getting closer and closer so if you haven’t got a plan ready yet, it might be time to draw one up. Drawing up a plan early means that both parents have time to understand it clearly and execute it properly.

Also, having all the planning agreed to and out of the way takes pressure of both of you and allows you and your child, to look forward to the big day.

Speak to a mediator if necessary

We understand that every situation is different, and not all separated parents are on amicable terms with each other.

If you don’t get along with your ex-partner, it’s a good idea to call in a mediator to negotiate how childcare should be arranged over the holidays. The mediator will give you both a chance to air out your thoughts and negotiate a fair custody agreement over Christmas.

Stick to the plan

Plans often change and it’s not always easy to stick to a plan, especially with the COVID-19 spanner jamming up the works. However, try your best not to make needless changes and stick to the plan agreed between you and the other parent.

Especially avoid last minute changes, as this will throw everyone off, particularly your children, and make the day more stressful.

Let your children in on it and enlist their help

As much as it’s your and your ex-partner’s responsibility to plan the day in a manner that’s fair to both parties, it also has to be fair to your children. Let them in on the discussion and take their opinions on board.

If you and your ex come up with a plan on your own, at least run it by your children before it’s set in stone to make sure they’re comfortable with it. This is especially important for older children who are more likely to want a say in what they do over Christmas.

Get help with child arrangements

If you need help with child arrangements during the Christmas period, our dedicated family law solicitors can provide clear and constructive advice to help you through the process. We have the compassion and expertise to help you, no matter how complicated your situation.

For expert child arrangement advice, please contact your local WSP branch in Gloucester or Stroud today.

If you have a quick question or would like to request a call back, you can also use our quick online enquiry form.


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