Custody, Christmas & Covid – the juggle is real

With the “snap” 7-day lockdown in the ACT turning into 9 weeks of lockdown, it’s not surprising that Christmas feels like a distant event this year, even though it’s just around the corner.

But don’t we all need Santa to bring us a low-stress break after the year we have had? Between home-schooling the kids, trying (and failing) to “work” from home, making an endless stream of snacks for your children (do they ever stop eating?!) and negotiating tricky changes to your children’s routines with your co-parent as government health measures evolved – Christmas has slipped off the radar this year.

The idea of long, carefree work and home-school free days sounds blissful doesn’t it? For separated families, starting the conversation now about managing Christmas with your co-parent, can really help Old Nick deliver that much-needed peace and joy over the holidays.

Even if you have an established pattern of ‘who has the kids’ over Christmas, you may still need to think about contingency planning in case we are plunged into another snap lockdown. If you’re itching to travel interstate, either with or without your children over the holidays, having some agreed parameters with your co-parent to deal with the ‘what-if’ scenarios can save a lot of heartache later.

If you’ve separated this year and it is your first Christmas after separation, we understand that this is an unsettling and emotional time. Planning makes perfect and will go a long way to reducing the painful sting that can be triggered by the holidays – as well as set you up to have a positive experience this year and beyond.

Sometimes though it’s hard to come to an agreement that works for each household. Sometimes, even just having that discussion with your ex-partner is not possible. Our team can help guide you through tricky issues and map out a plan. You can also read our top tips for sorting our Christmas custody arrangements our our blog "Two houses, One Christmas," and what to do if you and your ex can’t agree.

Disagreements can take a little bit of time to work through. When emotions are running high it can be even harder to think clearly about your options. A mediator or lawyer can help steer you towards solutions. If alternate dispute resolution is not workable or appropriate for your circumstances, the Court can decide who will have the kids and the specific arrangements (including in relation to any travel plans). If out-of-Court options aren’t possible, a Christmas application needs to be filed with the Court by 12 November 2021.

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 until end of November. Contact us on (02) 5114 2660 or at to make your Christmas post COVID-19 a cheerful and conflict-free holiday.