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Preparing for School Holidays after Recently Separating?

Co-parenting school holidays successfully

Separation is an incredibly difficult and emotional time for all family members. Preparing your child or children (and yourself! for the upcoming holiday period takes some planning. So here is some expert, helpful and compassionate advice from the highly experienced Wollongong Family Lawyers – ALG (Access Law Group).

Holidays can be a difficult time for children of families who have experienced a separation. For some, this period may be their first time having to share the holiday season with more than one parent. A child’s emotions may be heightened during this time, and it is essential to ensure they are emotionally supported in every way possible.

Section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) states that it is a child’s right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. During the holiday or Christmas period, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the busyness and stress of organising events, that we can forget about how our children are feeling.

Ideally, set aside some time before holdings to review the agreement you have in place. You can consider formalising your parenting agreement through Consent Orders or a Parenting Plan. For further information click here to read our article ‘Parenting Plans vs Consent Orders.’

If you find yourself in a situation where a parenting plan or Court Orders are breached, you should seek legal advice immediately.

If there is no agreement in place, the team at Access Law Group are happy to meet with you for a free initial consultation to discuss your options.

The following tips will assist you in keeping the holiday spirit and prioritising your children at this busy time.

  • Respect each other’s time: Christmas and other holidays can be a chaotic time. It is important to respect the other parent’s time with the children.
  • Communication is key: Good communication is important. Not all parents have to be best friends. However, being amicable during changeover puts less stress on the children and creates a more positive environment for this to occur in. It is not your child’s role to be a messenger between their parents. This can cause the child stress and anxiety.
  • Encourage parenting relationships: By encouraging the children having a positive relationship with the other parent, you are showing your support for your children. Never speak in a derogatory manner about the other parent in front of or to the children.
  • Keep your kids informed: You should make sure your children are aware of the arrangements for the holidays and remind them when they need to do things, such as pack. Writing dates on a calendar may also be useful in helping them remember where they need to be.
  • Be patient: Your children may forget to pack items and there may be more running around than usual. Remember it is challenging for children to pack for two separate households for long periods of time. Shared care arrangements work best where children feel supported by both parents. Traffic is also generally more congested at this time of the year, be patient with any need to change times for changeovers of the children.
  • Enjoy your time with your children: make the most of the time you do get to spend with your children rather than focusing on the time you do not have with them. Quality time is so important between you and your children.

You can contact Access Law Group and speak to one of our experienced family lawyers on (02) 4220 7100 for any enquiries about parenting arrangements and the holiday period.

With many thanks to Jessica Strangio of Access Law Group for sponsoring this article – you can also read more about Access Law Group and reach out to them HERE.

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