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Christmas is closer than we all think and closer than some would care to imagine but it will be here before we know it.

For most, Christmas is the happiest time of the year and is filled with fun times with family. For others, particularly separated families, it can be the most difficult time of the year.

When parents separate there are many things to consider but the main priority is always the children. Consideration needs to be given to who the children will live with and the time they will spend with the parent that they do not live with. Some parents will agree a shared care arrangement in relation to their children allowing children to spend equal time with both parents.

As well as the day to day arrangements for the children, thought needs to be given to special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas as well as school holidays.

Christmas can become difficult for separated parents and some find it difficult to reach an agreement regarding where the children will be over Christmas including Christmas Eve, the all important Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

If parents cannot agree arrangements for children then the first step would be to attend Mediation. Unless there is an exception such as domestic abuse or urgency (Christmas arrangements are not deemed urgent by the Courts) then, parties have to attempt Mediation before any Application to the Court can be made.

If Mediation does not resolve matters or one party does not attend then an Application to Court can be made for a Child Arrangements Order. This can deal with the long term arrangements for children as well as school holidays, special occasions and Christmas.

From the date that the Application is issued, the first hearing is not listed until between 4 - 6 weeks after. It is therefore important to make any Application regarding Christmas arrangements now as delay may mean that they cannot he dealt with before Christmas 2018.

At Ramsdens, we can help resolve any issues relation to children. Call our family team on 08000 147720, send us an email or text LAW to 67777 to book a free 30 minute consultation at any of our offices. We also offer early morning and late evening appointments across our offices.