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How to survive Christmas when relationships fail
For some, Christmas is quite simply, the most wonderful time of the year. For those experiencing relationship breakdown or considering ending their relationship it can be the worst time of all.
Being faced with the thought of being cooped up at home for days with your partner when things are difficult or facing the first Christmas Day without your children can be enough to drive anyone off the edge!
There are a number of things that you can do however to ease both of you, and the children through the festive minefield:
- Children The children shouldn’t be put in the middle of your family dispute at any time of the year, but especially not at Christmas. If you are already separated and have not already agreed when each of you will have the children over Christmas, start discussing it as soon as possible. The court will list hearings at short notice if you cannot agree Christmas contact, but it is no good calling a solicitor on Christmas Eve. Try to make your plans as child-focused as possible and put them first – not your own feelings. For example consider helping the children to make a card for your ex or buying a present with them so that they have something lovely to open on Christmas morning – however difficult it is for you.
- If you are still together Be as civil as possible to each other, especially if you are still living together. Remember that your children will always think of Christmastime fondly and you don’t want to tarnish their memories by fighting over the sprouts. Enjoy the children’s infectious enthusiasm as much as you can and join in the fun with them.
- If you are separated It is very hard to not be with your children at Christmas. Many parents feel very lonely, especially for the first year. Plan what you are going to do with the children when they are with you, whenever this is. If they are not with you on the big day itself, plan to celebrate again the next day so that the children have two Christmasses (who wouldn’t want two?) If possible, agree with your ex a story about how Father Christmas will get their presents to both houses so you don’t get awkward questions. Once again, be civil to each other; if there is one time to be pleasant on handover of the children, it is at Christmas time.
- After Christmas If it all goes wrong over Christmas, whether you are already separated or decide that you want to be, consult a solicitor. Resolution lawyers are all trained to deal with family disputes in a constructive way and not to put children in the middle. You can find a list of local lawyers on the Resolution website.
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