10 November 2021

Custody, Christmas and COVID - the juggle is real

| Parker Coles Curtis
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Jacquelyn Curtis

Jacquelyn Curtis, founding director of Parker Coles Curtis, specialises in family law. Photo: Parker Coles Curtis.

With the ‘snap’ seven-day lockdown in the ACT turning into nine weeks of lockdown, it’s not surprising that Christmas feels like a distant event this year, even though it’s just around the corner.

And don’t we all need Santa to bring us a low-stress break after the year we have had? Between home-schooling the kids, trying (and failing) to work from home, making an endless stream of snacks for your children (do they ever stop eating?!) and negotiating tricky adjustments to your children’s routines with your co-parent, somehow, Christmas slipped off the radar.

If you’re a separated parent, carefree work and home school-free days are probably at the top of your Christmas wish list.

Taking steps now to get your children’s care over Christmas sorted will ensure you don’t miss critical deadlines to have the issue decided by the Court and can help Old Nick deliver the goods. A Court application about Christmas custody arrangements has to be lodged by Friday (12 November).

READ ALSO Family law service delivered to the comfort of your lounge room

Even if you have an established pattern of who has the kids over Christmas, you may still need to think about contingency planning if we are plunged into another snap lockdown. If you’re itching to travel interstate, either with or without your children over the holidays, having some agreed parameters with your co-parent to deal with the ‘what-if’ scenarios can save a lot of heartache later.

If you’ve separated this year and it is your first Christmas after separation, this can be an unsettling and emotional time. Planning makes perfect and will go a long way to reducing the painful sting that can be triggered by the holidays and setting you up to have a positive experience this year and beyond.

Sometimes though, it’s hard to come to an agreement that works for each household. Sometimes, even just having that discussion with your ex-partner is not possible.

Disagreements can take a little bit of time to work through. When emotions are running high, it can be even harder to think clearly about your options. A mediator or lawyer can help steer you towards solutions. If alternate dispute resolution is not workable or appropriate for your circumstances, the Court can decide who will have the kids and the specific arrangements (including any travel plans).

To make sense of your Christmas custody arrangements, check out Two houses, one Christmas, including hints for what to do if you and your ex can’t agree.

To make your Christmas post-COVID-19 a cheerful and conflict-free holiday, Parker Coles Curtis Lawyers can discuss your Christmas custody issues in a free 30-minute consult via Zoom, telephone or face-to-face until 30 November. Visit Parker Coles Curtis to learn more.

This is a sponsored article, though all opinions are the author’s own. For more information on paid content, see our sponsored content policy.

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