Countdown to your happy Christmas

Countdown to Christmas. A guide for separated parents.OK, so we know you are not ready to think about Christmas just yet. It seems to get earlier each year. It’s only just November but already the shops have started to play Mistletoe & Wine and tempt us with tinsel and toys.

If you’re family situation has recently changed, or you’re facing another difficult Christmas trying to make arrangements with an ex about the children, there is no time like the present to embrace Christmas and get your arrangements sorted in good time for the big day.

Here’s the Otten Penna guide to the Christmas countdown:



You’re probably thinking this is far too soon to be thinking of Christmas, but it really isn’t. Considering your options earlier in the year means that a positive outcome is much more likely for all parties. With 8-9 months to make decisions, this also allows time for mediation to help you make an agreement, if necessary.


October Half Term

If you’ve not been able to sort out your arrangements before now, use this landmark holiday to initiate discussions with your ex partner about your expectations for Christmas. If communication has broken down, try writing a letter with your proposal for Christmas contact, suggesting specific times for collections and returns or mediation.

Organisations such as are also available to help you work through the situation.


Remember, remember the 5th November

By early November, it’s advantageous to know whether you will need to instruct a solicitor to help you sort out your holiday contact arrangements. A solicitor can be the best course of action if you feel bullied or intimidated into making an agreement you don’t agree with, if you have experienced domestic violence or if your ex won’t communication with you or attend mediation.

Remember, the family courts can get very busy in the run up to Christmas, so the earlier you start the process, the more chance you will have of getting your case heard before the courts close on Christmas Eve.


Mid December

If you leave it until just before Christmas to contact your solicitor, you are really cutting it fine and unless there is an emergency it is unlikely you will be able to get a hearing before a Judge to enable decisions to be properly made.


24th December (12pm) 2015 – 4th January 2016

The Otten Penna offices are closed from 12 noon on 24th December and we don’t reopen over the Christmas holidays until 4th January 2016.


It really is not too early to discuss Christmas with us here at Otten Penna Solictors, if you would like to chat to one of our trained Family Lawyers, please contact us on 0161 945 1431 or feel free to pop in to one of our FREE Family Law Clinics here at our Northenden Offices, every Wednesday from10am-4pm, and at the Wythenshawe Civic Centre Forum (Library) on Thursday from 12pm-2pm.


Vicky Wright, Solicitor

Vicky Wright, Solicitor is a member of Resolution and an accredited specialist in Finance and Children, Vicky undertakes all aspects of family law including financial matters arising from the breakdown of marriages and other relationships, divorce and children issues and domestic violence.