Welcome to this, the third post in our series covering the hot topics we know cause stress and tension for families during the festive period. This post is all about maintaining good relations with your ex. 

Our top suggestions for avoiding confrontation and conflict

The Manchester Collaborative Law group recognise that separated families can experience additional stresses and pressures during the festive season. We have substantial experience of advising clients in respect of family law problems that can arise at this time of the year.

Keep communications calm

If you and your ex have children, you may have conflicting opinions or ideas about how things should be done at Christmas. It’s sensible to communicate in a calm and balanced way, speaking only about factual arrangements and not letting hurt or anger show.

Don’t forget the children

Unfortunately children can get caught in the middle of warring parents, and sometimes they don’t get much of a say when it comes to contact arrangements.

Ultimately it’s parents’ responsibility to ensure that children have the opportunity to enjoy Christmas, which requires communication and civility on both sides. Parents should listen to their children, and remember that younger children have their own way of communicating; not always verbal. As experienced lawyers we can help you understand your children and can also help in your dialogue with your ex.

Don’t shoot the messenger

It’s not fair to expect children to act as messenger between you and your ex, so if you do need to discuss contact arrangements, or last minute changes in your plans – it’s better to pick up the phone or speak face to face. That way there can be no confusion, and your children aren’t left feeling guilty or confused if the message is misconstrued or doesn’t get delivered.

Speak early and continuously

When it comes to agreeing contact over Christmas, it’s better to make arrangements sooner rather than later. Ideally all contact arrangements for the holidays should be in place now – and this should help to avoid conflict nearer the day.

If you and your ex find it difficult to discuss contact, you can arrange a meeting with your collaborative solicitors present and avoid more negative forms of communication. That way you should be able to try to reach an agreement in a neutral setting, without the pressure and cost of having to attend court.

For more information about contact at Christmas, check out our post on the importance of agreeing, and sticking to contact arrangements.