Christmas, co-parenting and divorce

Originally published on 28th September 2018 at 10:20 AM
Reading time: 3 mins
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If it’s your first Christmas co-parenting or even the first time, you’ll be without the kids – don’t worry – our guide is packed with ways to have a positive Christmas and tips to keep the festive season merry.

Two homes, one Christmas?

Divide holidays based on what works for the kids not what’s ‘fair’ or ‘equal’ for the adults. Try to minimise to-ing and fro-ing on Christmas day and listen to what the kids would like.

A note of caution : if the atmosphere between you is bad, then don’t be pressured into doing Christmas together. Two happy separate parents are much better than mum and dad and an atmosphere. Make alternative arrangements next year if this year doesn’t work, irrespective of whose turn it is.

Kids not with you on Christmas day?

Christmas, divorce and separated parenting is tricky to get right. But if it’s not your turn to have the kids, then get creative. Celebrate a different day… make it your alternative Christmas.

On Christmas day be bold, be adventurous and do something different. Choose to be with extended family and friends or take the opportunity to enjoy some alone time. There are lots of places to indulge yourself open at Christmas.

If you can’t afford to go out this year, start a Christmas fund for next year – a couple of pounds a week will buy you a treat.

Alternatively, you can volunteer over the Christmas period. Your local council will have a list of places looking for help.

Missing the old Family traditions?

Create new traditions and involve older kids in making new plans. A hard part of separating is letting go of past traditions. This is an opportunity to make new arrangements and do things differently. Your attitude to embracing change will be a strong signal to your kids. So, make sure your glass is half full (figuratively speaking!) and show them how to enjoy things being different.

Ex late with the kids (again)?

Things go wrong, life’s not perfect, but you don’t have to be angry about them. Christmas, co-parenting and divorce could be a perfect storm if you let it. You can’t control your ex’s behaviour, but you can choose how you respond. Choose peace this Christmas and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Fed up with your ex’s selfish behaviour?

Now is the time to start to separate emotionally as well as physically. Start to unhook yourself from the other person and your old relationship patterns. Step back and make a choice about how you are going to respond in future. Chances are that your immediate reactions are about the past relationship. Choose to create a new relationship with your ex; more business-like, less emotionally charged. Take time out for yourself to decide to change how you can operate as parents together for the better.

Book a free 15-minute advice call to find out more about how we can help you stay amicable throughout your divorce and separation here.

From all of us at amicable, we wish you a very merry (amicable) Christmas.


How to do Christmas as coparents?

Co-parenting during the holidays, especially Christmas, can be a delicate balancing act and there is no exact formula for success. However, keeping your focus on the children, and the communication between coparents – at the very least – civil, is a sure-fire method to making the Christmas period easier for everyone.

Can my ex stop me seeing my child at Christmas?

In most cases, both parents have legal rights to see their child, and this includes holidays, such as Christmas. However, there can be situations where an ex might attempt to limit or prevent visitation during Christmas. If there is a formal agreement in place which outlines who is the sole caregiver of the children, then we would advise speaking to a professional, legal professional, or the Child Maintenance Service.

How do you share kids at Christmas?

There can be multiple ways to share children during the festive season. Most co-parents and separated parents opt for sharing time with them equally over the holidays. This can be achieved through a parenting plan. For Christmas Day, each parent may have them every other year to ensure fairness. However, there is also the case where separated parents might choose to do Christmas Day as a unit to show the kids that you can treat each other with respect.

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Co-parenting advice

Speak to an amicable Coach for help transitioning from parents to co-parents.

Book a free 15-minute call

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