06th Dec 2022

Christmas Arrangements for Separated Families

Christmas Arrangements for Separated Families

We all want to give our children the best Christmas possible.

But that seems to be an increasingly tall order each year as there is more and more to pack into such limited time.

The logistical challenges are multiplied for those who are separating or have separated:

  • Often there will be twice the family traditions, hopes and dreams to be accommodated.
  • For some, new relationships seem to add more complexity than richness.
  • For others, reduced family time can make the Christmas period seem all the more important; and
  • Too often it will seem quite impossible for the two parts of the family to sit down together for any of the main events as may have worked well in the past.

And as anxiety grows around being pushed to one side or not being listened to, so the oxygen of options seems to leave the room, along with our best planning skills.  Too often this can result in:

  • frustrated parents.
  • anxious children.
  • too much of Christmas passing in the snatched ideal moments squeezed between trips between homes and commitments.
  • alongside children needing to pack in impressive numbers of duplicated dinners and Christmas outings.

This can play out to make Christmas the very opposite of what you and your children want, which is settled arrangements that the children can see each of you are fine with.

Of course, that aspiration doesn’t help anyone to know precisely what the arrangements themselves should look like.  This is where mediation can step in:

  • to listen to the problems that each of you are experiencing and ensure they are heard by the other parent.
  • to share ideas with you both about what has worked well for other families.
  • to record clearly the structure that you can agree on.
  • to spot the problems that are likely to crop up and help you to plan for what might be done.
  • to recognise what may be happening in your negotiations and to see whether there can’t be a better way for you to work out solutions between yourselves for the future.

At this time of year at FLiP, we know that parents’ diaries are saturated with arrangements already and there is limited time even to have the discussions to make the best of the situation.  We seek to keep our family mediation very focused (you can circle back to do the longer term work around communication and parenting plans in the New Year once the crisis of Christmas is behind you).

We also know that:

  • court dates to impose a set of arrangements (if you can’t agree one) will be impossible to find; and
  • above all you need a solution, even if it may not be the perfect one: just having things settled would be a giant step forward.

For this reason, we offer an arbitration-backed service called FLiP Settle.

  • You sign into arbitration at the same time as you sign into mediation.
  • We will give you the best chance of working out solutions with your mediator
  • But if either of you feels that you can’t get all the way to an agreement,
    • you can still “bank” the good arrangements you’ve been able to work out;
    • leave yourself enough time to get a structure, dealing with these final pieces imposed by an arbitrator; and
    • this structure will be legally binding.


For further information and to make an appointment to any of our family law specialists, please contact us at E: hello@flip.co.uk or T: 020 7420 5000.