Family law solicitors at Coles Miller are helping parents to make Christmas more enjoyable for children affected by divorce or separation.
Divorce solicitors and mediators at the Dorset law firm are using their legal expertise and experience to help separated parents co-ordinate Christmas children arrangements.
Planning well ahead is the best policy but even with Christmas just weeks away it is still not too late for separated parents to agree on where the children will spend Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Coles Miller Partner Emma Hamilton Cole said: “Negotiating at the last minute, without a plan and having to go before a judge is certain to be stressful and expensive.”
And while it may still be possible to go to court before Christmas, the judge would be “unlikely to be able to do more than apply a sticking plaster” at this late stage.
“I was at the court recently and in the waiting room there were a lot of frazzled parents, frayed tempers and raised voices,” added Ms Hamilton Cole.
Going to court should always be a last resort. Negotiation was almost always quicker, cheaper and less stressful, she said.
“It is never too late to be sensible in the interests of your children and it is important to see things from their point of view.
“Christmas Day can be very territorial but most children are more than happy to have two ‘Christmas Days’ each year.”
The sooner that parents could establish an annual routine and stick to it - such as children spending Christmas Day with their mother one year and their father the next - the better it would be for them.
“Young children can be very quick to adapt. They can have a routine that they are comfortable with if it is presented in a sensible way,” added Ms Hamilton Cole.
It was important for parents to work together - instead of competing against each other - to ensure that their children had a good Christmas.
This year’s ‘must have’ toy could come from a neutral party such as ‘Santa’ rather than being from one parent or the other.
Christmas can be a particularly testing time for relationships that are in trouble. In some instances it can be the final straw that pushes a marriage or partnership over the edge.
Having to spend more time together at Christmas or the presence of in-laws can put tremendous pressure on a marriage. The extra alcohol consumed over the festive week can also play a negative role.
Dorset-based Coles Miller LLP has five offices in Bournemouth, Poole, Broadstone, Charminster and Wimborne.
Its family law solicitors provide a wide range of legal services covering divorce, separation and children arrangements.
Where possible, the firm recommends negotiation, collaborative law or bringing in mediators to reduce the cost and emotional stress of getting divorced.
Coles Miller assists clients with conveyancing, family, commercial, wills, probate and planning law - mainly in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset - but the firm acts throughout England and Wales for cases involving clinical negligence, personal injury and interest rate swaps.
For expert advice on family law, contact divorce solicitor and mediator Emma Hamilton Cole, 01202 694891.