Can my ex stop me from seeing my child at Christmas?

Unless the courts have specifically decided to restrict access to your children because of a welfare issue, your ex-partner cannot prevent you from seeing your child. Equally, no parent has the right to demand to see their child and take them away from the other parent without express permission. 

The law in England and Wales makes no specific provision for any contact with your children at Christmas. In a nutshell, neither parent has a right to see their child at Christmas. 

To prevent the Christmas holiday from being too stressful for both parents and the child, the best solution is to agree on the arrangements without legal intervention. However, if you do want to stop your ex-partner from having contact with your child at Christmas, or at any other time, you should get professional legal advice.

Seeing your child at Christmas

If you no longer live in the family home with your children, the best way to get to see them is by getting the agreement of the primary caregiver. 

This could involve sharing the time between both parents on Christmas Day so that one parent spends time with the child in the morning and the other in the afternoon. You could also agree that one parent spends Christmas with the child one year, then the following year with the other parent. 

Parents on amicable terms may agree to spend Christmas Day in the same house with one of them as a visitor. Unfortunately, life isn’t always that simple and reaching an amicable agreement sometimes isn’t possible when relationships break down. 
Reaching a resolution

As every child has the right to maintain a good relationship with both parents, it is in everyone’s interest to reach a satisfactory resolution to the issue. 

If there is just no way of reaching a satisfactory agreement, you might try mediation. Through this method, a trained professional will help both parents reach an agreement about where and when both of you will see the child. If this fails, then there may be no other option but to go to court and apply for a child arrangement order. 

5 Tips for separated couples at Christmas

  1. Plan early:
Planning early will allow both parents to consider and agree to Christmas arrangements as early as possible. This will help prevent last-minute rushes and reduce the risk of disagreement.

2. Maintain an open line of communication: Although communication between exes may be difficult, it is important to maintain open and honest communication with your ex about the Christmas plans and arrangements for your children. If direct communication is not possible, you may need to involve a neutral third party or a mediation service.

3. Be flexible and willing to make compromises: Give room for unexpected changes and surprises in your planning. Also, be willing to make compromises to reach agreements that are in the best interest of your children. Refusing to be open to compromise increases the likelihood of a breakdown in communication with the other parent.

4. Consider your children’s needs or views: Ensure that your child's needs remain central to your plans. Also, if your children are old enough, consider their views on how they want to spend their Christmas holiday.

5. Document your agreement in writing: You can do this in the form of a parental agreement for instance. This will serve as a reference point and will help prevent misunderstandings throughout the Christmas holiday.

As Christmas is such a special time of year for many, emotions can run high and decisions about where a child spends that time can be a source of anxiety and disagreement between parents.

How Can GloverPriest Help?

At GloverPriest, we provide friendly and transparent family law advice. If you would like further help on child arrangements, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our expert family lawyers today. Complete our enquiry form.

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