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ExperiencedLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 311
Experience:  I have 14+ years of experience as a family lawyer, advising people on all kinds of relationship and family law issues.
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Hello. My son is 4, his dad and I separated when he was

Customer Question


My son is 4, his dad and I separated when he was less than 6 months old. He used to have him 2 weekends out of 4 which changed when my son was 2, to 3 weekends out of 4.

My sons dad has him every boxing day and for several days thereafter. My sons dad and grandparents also take him abroad for two weeks each year which is something I do not contest. We have shared Xmas/Xmas eve - One of us has him the Xmas eve and Xmas day morning and the other parent collects him at 10am to have him Xmas day, this has alternated. I also have another son who is nearly 3, with my current partner, as they are getting older both of my children enjoy eachothers company and spending time together.

For this Xmas I have asked for my son in question to be with me and his sibling for Xmas eve and Xmas day until 4pm, at which time his dad can collect him and have him for the rest of Xmas day, boxing day and a couple of days after to visit family if they so wish. His dad is also having him from Fri 20th Dec - Mon 23rd Dec. They have agreed to this year but not to the time of 4pm as my sons dads mother is saying it isn't fair on her or on her son as they will get my son when he 'knackered' and that isn't fair on them.

They (I use they loosely as it's my sons grandmother I have the most contact with and she is practically harassing me over this situation) are also telling me that next year they are entitled to have my son on Xmas eve and Xmas day as I am asking to do so this year but I am not asking for my benefit, it is for my sons benefit and also his half sibling. I do not think it's fair to keep them apart over the Xmas holidays and the build up on Xmas eve now they are ages 3 and 4. I believe they will be upset and will want to open and play with their new things together. Am I being unreasonable? Isn't this situation about my sons best interests as a child? Aslong as they are seeing him I do not see why they can not have an enjoyable time with him on the eve of Xmas day and boxing day. I do not want any conflict I can not be bothered to have arguments with them over my son. I am very fair with contact etc and have never been difficult, now I am not agreeing with something they want to do I am getting hounded and being called unfair, it is unfair on them, it is unfair on my sons dad, it is unfair on my sons nan, etc. I have said we will discuss next year nearer the time and that isn't good enough. I have also said if 4pm is too late in their opinion then suggest another reasonable time and we can maybe come to an agreement - so they say 1pm, which I think is too early. I do not want my son rushed on Xmas day and driven here there and everywhere.

Please could you clarify if I am or am not in the wrong. Am I being unfair on my son? Is that who matters in this situation? Please help I am getting constant calls etc to try and break me down into complying to whatever they ask.

Thank you
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  ExperiencedLawyer replied 4 years ago.
My name is Mac and I will be able to help you with your question, but first I need a bit more information. Firstly though I will say that you are certainly not wrong, in fact you sound very balanced in your assessment - but it is always very difficult sorting out these kinds of arrangements.

- do I understand correctly that you have been alternating xmas day (between the father and you) in the past, but now that his sibling is a bit older, you think it might be better for them to be together on xmas day?

- does the father have any other children?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.



Yes that is correct. My son was with his father last Christmas day for example


No he doesn't have any other children

Expert:  ExperiencedLawyer replied 4 years ago.

There is no right or wrong answer in this situation, so any agreement that works for the two of you will be good. However, that said, Christmas (and when the children are older, new year) can be some of the most difficult events to agree on a sharing arrangement, and by far the most common solution is to alternate it each year - often with Boxing Day also alternating on the other year.

I completely understand your concern in relation to your two children spending Christmas today. At the same time, I can see the father's wish to spend Christmas day proper with his son from time to time. Overall, I think it is likely that a court would probably think that Christmas should be shared, probably alternated. Children are generally adaptable, as long as their parents are enthusiastic in respect of whatever it is they are doing, so perhaps you could make a great thing of them having an early xmas (on Christmas eve) every other year. I'm definitely not suggesting ways to parent, you're obviously doing a good job of that, but I am suggesting that you try to find a way of making the best of the alternating xmas situation.

On the other hand, regarding the handover time, I agree that 1pm seems too early. Again, there is no right answer, but it seems to me that it could fit a reasonable alternating pattern for you to have a proper full christmas day with them this year (with handover later as you suggest) and then for the same arrangements to work in reverse next year.

I hope that was helpful, although I appreciate that it won't all have been exactly what you wanted to her. Best of luck in dealing with the father and his pressuring relations though - don't let them bully you, but at the same time try and be balanced and flexible (which is just how you came across in your original question).

Expert:  ExperiencedLawyer replied 4 years ago.

I hope you found the answer helpful. I'd still be happy to clarify anything, but please could you rate my answer (OK or above), as it's the only way we get paid - sorry to ask.