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13 Dec 2018

For separated parents, Christmas can lead to squabbling over children, court orders, and contact hours. We interviewed senior divorce lawyer, Simon Creek – about his top tips for navigating such a sensitive time.

 What advice can you provide to separated parents the during the Christmas holidays?

  1. Parents who have their children’s best interests at heart will generally agree that the children will spend time with both parents during special occasions (such as birthdays, and Easter).

These same parents will agree that it is best for children to spend time with mum on Mother’s Day and dad on Father’s Day.

2. However, negotiating Christmas can be difficult following separation so it is important to make arrangements with your ex partner.

Planning in advance is the easiest and by far the most effective way to minimise conflict.

For example – the following should be discussed with your ex-partner:

  1. How and at what time changeovers will occur (where there is an ongoing conflict between parents, it may not be practical for parents to collect the children from each other’s homes for Christmas);
  2. Where the children will be going / what activities will they be doing over Christmas holidays (to avoid double ups).

Ensure that both parents agree who will spend what time with the children during each day of the Christmas period.

  • For example – Parent 1 could have the children for a few days leading up to Christmas day and Parent 2 could have the children for a few days after Christmas day.

 

Not enough time, too much time – what options are available to those who are unhappy with their parenting arrangements?

  1. If you’re unhappy with your parenting arrangements and you don’t know what to do, why not speak to a Family Dispute Resolution practitioner
  2. The Family Dispute Resolution practitioner can sit both you and your ex partner down and discuss the issues you’re having with proactive ways to resolve them.
  3. If Family Dispute Resolution is unsuccessful, you may have to commence proceedings in the Family Court.

As with any court proceedings, we strongly advise you try and communicate your issues with your ex partner before you enter into a potentially lengthy and costly legal dispute.

 

Is there anything parents need to consider when taking their kids on a vacation over the Christmas holidays?

We all know overseas travel will offer invaluable experiences in many ways. It’s important for the development of children, experiencing an adventure and winding down from a busy school schedule.

However, in order to get your Christmas holiday planning right, we recommend the following:

  1. Don’t book holidays prematurely

Do not book a holiday, hotel or flights until you have agreed to the dates and location with the other parent.

2. Provide the other parent with details about the holiday as soon as you have them available; as a minimum, you should provide the following to the other parent:

  • Holiday dates;
  • Location;
  • Flight information; and

Propose Contact for the children while away

  • Agree with the other parent how the child will keep in touch with them, e.g. by phone, Skype or FaceTime.

 

For the non travelling parent

If you are concerned about where your partner is taking your child for safety reasons, you may seek an order from the court preventing them from going. This should be exercised with caution and only if you believe that there is a strong risk of the child being harmed or abducted.

 

*This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. Please consult one of our experienced Legal Team for specific advice relevant to your situation.

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Sitka Pil

My circumstances at the time I made contact with HHG were dire following my argument being rejected by two no win no fee firms. Following my initial meeting with HHG's employment law team I was left feeling extremely positive by the response and concern shown by HHG in regards to their support of my argument along with their preparedness to pursue an outcome on my behalf.

I accept the fact that nobody really wins in these cases (mental health/ workplace) however the end result was what would be considered most favourable and far in excess of what would have been achieved had I not sought the advice from HHG.

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To HHG Legal Group, thank you for a great outcome.  I would recommend your company to anyone seeking legal services."

Jan Atkinson

"Your support this morning was amazingly kind, not to mention your totally reassuring competence, knowledge and wisdom that you used on my behalf.  It was extremely reassuring to have your knowledgeable support, and I particularly appreciated your real and obvious kindness to me. It means so much at a very difficult time. I'm so grateful to you."

Family Law Client

"Janene was very professional and we established a good rapport quickly. The subject of death and wills can be quite confronting to deal with, however, Janene's approach was soft and accommodating."

Lynette Livesey

"A big thank you to HHG for their professional service, continued support, and wide range of legal knowledge. Our clients have given us nothing but kind words regarding HHG Legal Group and so we have no hesitation in referring and recommending Simon Creek and HHG Legal Group for their outstanding services and legal expertise."

Nigel Plowman, Director at McKinley Plowman & Associates

"Simon is a friendly and practical legal advisor. I have received great feedback from the clients I have referred to him and his team at HHG Legal Group."

Richard Beal, Director at BDO

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Michael Malone, Founder of iiNet

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Kerry Samson

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