We have not yet formally separated, how can we reduce the pressure in the home?
It is generally acknowledged that where couples are unhappy in their relationship, spending an extended holiday period together may put additional pressure on them and serve to deepen the cracks already present.
Maintaining communication (if possible) is key so that you both know what the plans are for you and the children. Be sensible with money as financial stress is a big factor for most families, regardless of whether there are difficulties in the relationship already.
Avoid drinking too much – this can often lead to arguments within the home and escalate the situation. Try to avoid scenarios which either of you will find particularly stressful.
We are already separated, how can we manage the festive period best for the children?
By planning ahead. As you will probably not all be together on Christmas Day, make suitable arrangements for the children to spend time with both parents over the festive period.
If everyone is aware in advance of what the arrangements are, they can plan ahead and make sure the children feel positive about the time that they will be spending with each parent. You could also try and communicate regarding presents and attendance at parties. Children’s worries and concerns should be listened to and addressed sensitively.
If you are feeling sad then surrounding yourself with family or friends and starting new traditions can help. There are also plenty of organisations who can provide support at such a difficult time.
What if we cannot agree what to do about Christmas holidays?
If you cannot agree what is in the best interests of the children, a good family solicitor could assist in finding a resolution between you without inflaming the situation further. Alternatively, mediation can be a safe and neutral place to discuss arrangements.