Christmas is fast approaching and for some this will be the first Christmas post separation. In these circumstances, discussing parenting arrangements at an early stage is crucial.
For newly separated parents, deciding how much time the children spend with each parent over the Christmas period can be a cause for great tension.
As with any dispute, the key to resolving this issue is always going to be communication. The worst thing that you can do is leave it until the last minute to discuss where the children spend Christmas day. You need to make sure that there is time to discuss the desires of both parties and come to a compromise.
Unfortunately, compromise is not always something that can be easily achieved especially where the relationship breakdown is still fresh. If the other parent refuses to permit you to see the children or you are unable to reach agreement and you are considering commencing court proceedings, time is ticking.
Applications to the Family Court of Australia need to be commenced by the second Friday of November.
For parenting matters commenced in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, whilst there is no deadline for filing applications seeking to be heard before Christmas, there is no guarantee that an application will be heard by the Court prior to Christmas Day.
What About the Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) requirement?
Just as the Courts become busy at this time of year, so do Family Dispute Resolution Centre’s. Family Dispute Resolution is required before most applications to the Court can be made. They also provide invaluable assistance to parties by helping them reach an agreement on either all or some of the issues in dispute. If you have not yet attempted Family Dispute Resolution, we recommend you contact Relationships Australia and explore the possibility of scheduling a conference prior to the Christmas season.
If you would like some assistance to make arrangements for time spending over the Christmas period, we suggest you contact our family law team without delay to help you negotiate an arrangement with your former partner or if necessary, prepare an application to the Court.