Two houses, one Christmas.

Christmas is only 12 weeks away. Have you and your ex sorted out custody arrangements for the children during the Christmas holidays?

To make your Christmas merry and not miserable, you'll need to nix arguments and conflict about who spends what time with the kids and the travel involved over the festive season. That's the last thing you need at a time for relaxing and enjoying spending time with family and friends. Worse still – you don’t need the additional stress if you’re struggling to face Christmas as a newly separated parent.

For the month of October 2020 our lawyers will chat with you FOR FREE about your Christmas custody issues, in a 30 minute consult via Zoom, telephone or face-to-face. We’ll workshop with you the problem and possible solutions to help you have a hassle-free festive period. Contact us on (02) 5114 2660 or at to arrange a time with us.

Here are our top tips for what to do if you and your ex can’t agree who gets the kids for Christmas and New Year.

1. Just like your Christmas shopping - don’t leave it until the last minute.

All of the options below depend upon there being some time to work through different options, to solve the disagreement. In some cases, if you wait too long after hitting a roadblock to take any action, then you might run out of time to work things out. This can make for an unhappy Christmas for you and your kids.

2. Participate in mediation to try and reach a resolution.

Government funded organisations such as Relationships Australia and not for profit organisations such as Conflict Resolution Services are good options. These services often have lengthy waiting lists so don’t delay contacting them.

You can also engage a private mediator. We work with a number of private mediators that have experience with family law and custody disagreements. We'll work with you to identify a suitable mediator for your issues, taking into account the personalities of you and your ex. We can also represent you at the mediation (lawyer assisted mediation) if you choose.

Our founding Director Debra Parker is an accredited specialist in dispute resolution and in family law. As an accomplished mediator, she convenes mediation session with, and without, lawyers present. You can book a mediation with Debra here.

3. Engage a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf or for negotiation coaching

Meet with us to discuss with your rights and obligations and ‘reality check’ whether your ex’s proposals are reasonable and legal. We can talk you through the process if you need to initiate Court proceedings for Christmas contact orders or negotiate and agreement for you. We can also help you come up with a strategy about how to approach the negotiations yourself, if you prefer to keep your costs down.

4. Make an application to the Court.

This is a last resort – but is sometimes necessary if you and your ex are unable to agree on arrangements.

The closer it gets to Christmas, the more difficult it will be to get your matter heard in Court and orders made about the care arrangements in time for Christmas. You need to file your application by no later than the end of October.

As accredited family law specialists we can advise you about Court time frames and your prospects in relation to a Court application.

Contact us for assistance to make your Christmas a merry, not miserable, holiday season.