How to deal with Family Conflict at Christmas?


Consultant Solicitor

Wed 12 December 2018 How to deal with Family Conflict at Christmas?

Christmas for parents who have been separated for a while, or those in the throes of a recent separation often brings a whole host of tensions to the surface. Whilst most parents would wholeheartedly agree that their children’s welfare is ‘paramount’, it is often difficult to put this into practice, particularly when relations with the co-parent have broken down. 

Throughout the festive season, it is important to focus on what is really important and make Christmas memorable for the right reasons. 

All families are different. There is no ‘one size fits all’. There are, however, steps that you can take to reduce conflict: - 

  1. Plan ahead. If at all possible, you should try and reach an agreement with your co-parent well in advance.
  2. Think about what kind of Christmas your children would like to have. Consider what is in your children’s best interest? Where would they like to open up presents? Have dinner? Go to bed?
  3. Do not ask your children to make the decisions. Often children will feel torn apart and feel that whatever decision they make, they will inevitably upset somebody.
  4. Be fair and reasonable.
  5. Stick to plans but also try to be flexible wherever possible.
  6. Consider Mediation. Mediation takes place in the presence of a neutral third party. The role of the Mediator is to assist parents to communicate with each other and to reach decisions about the children. The aim of mediation is to lessen conflict and to try to resolve disputes amicably.

If you are unable to reach an agreement, and have exhausted all other options or have an immediate and urgent concern, you are able to make an application to court for a child arrangements order. This is usually as a very last resort, and when Mediation has been unsuccessful. 

Should you require any assistance in any family matter or wish to discuss any of the issues raised, please do not hesitate to contact Kirsty Black on 020 7400 6097



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