For many separated parents, it can be an emotional time negotiating parenting arrangements for special occasion and Christmas Day is no exception. Many disagreements start because of each parents’ expectations. You might expect that the children will spend Christmas with you and your family, and the other parent may also expect the same. If you are yet to make time spending arrangements for Christmas Day, now is the time to act.
Rule 5.01 of the Family Law Rules provides that an application for parenting orders relating to the whole or part of the Christmas school holiday period must be filed in the Family Court before 4:00pm on the second Friday in November, being 8 November 2019 this year.
Keep in mind, unless your matter is urgent, you will still be required to participate in compulsory family dispute resolution (mediation) before you are eligible to commence proceedings.
If you miss this deadline and are unable to commence proceedings in time, you can still bring an action in the Federal Circuit Court, however unless there are circumstances of urgency, it is unlikely that your matter will be listed before the new year.
PRACTICAL TIPS TO HELP YOU THROUGH THE FESTIVE SEASON
To help you navigate your way through this festive holiday season, our lawyers have compiled some practical tips to help you negotiate an arrangement that will ensure the children are kept as the primary focus:
- Consider where each parent plans on celebrating Christmas day and the practicality of getting the children from one venue to another. Christmas day won’t be much fun for the kids if they have to spend half of the day in the car;
- Where possible, communicate with the other parent about gift buying and don’t try to outdo each other;
- If you have little ones, make sure they know that Santa knows where they are sleeping on Christmas Eve;
Remember the three (3) C’s-
- Communication – Take the time to talk to the other parent. Explain what time spending you would like and why it is important to you.
- Compromise- Be prepared to meet in the middle. Remember the focus is not on you and what you want but ensuring the kids have an opportunity to spend time with all of the people that love them;
- Civility- there is merit in being the bigger person. Children are more perceptive than we give them credit for. They don’t need to be exposed to warring parents.
- Find the silver lining– if for some reason you can’t be with the children on Christmas Day, embrace the opportunity to give them two Christmas Days and celebrate it again when they are next in your care.
If you find that you are unable to reach an amicable resolution with the other parent and you would like some legal advice, call and speak to one of our family law solicitors today on (08) 8451 9040.