The smell of hot cross buns, the wonderful arrays of colourful Easter eggs, the blissful encounters with the fluffy Easter Bunny, and the excitement of Easter egg hunts are some of your children’s favourite things over the Easter break. It is a holiday that the children usually love and look forward to every year. Nonetheless, Easter comes with a long weekend and the Easter school holidays, and for separated families this can be an egg-stra big mess. So here are some tips on how to plan for special occasions
HOP TO IT AND PLAN AHEAD
- Start making plans and discussing arrangements with your ex-partner as soon as you can.
- If you really need a specific day then try to negotiate an arrangement reasonably. Think about negotiating a time-sharing arrangement, trading other days or alternating years so your children spend this Easter with you and next Easter with your ex-partner.
- Ensure your agreement is specific. For example, what days will the children be with you? when and where will the changeovers be and who will they be conducted by? It is extremely important that the terms are not vague or ambiguous so that they do not result in any conflict or misunderstanding.
- Ensure that anything you agree on is put in writing. You can do this by text, email or through written correspondence from your lawyers.
- If you do not have any arrangements in place or cannot come to an arrangement on your own, ask one of our lawyers for assistance. We can draft orders with as much detail and flexibility as the parent’s require ensuring they are enforceable and in the best interests of the children.
DON’T BE A ROTTEN EGG
- Don’t do anything to prevent your ex-partner from also sharing special time during the holiday with your children.
- Being stubborn and unreasonable with your ex-partner will not make Easter an enjoyable time for your children so try to ensure you don’t do anything to make them feel as if they are stuck in the middle of your feud.
- If you have agreed on a handover time then make sure you return the children regardless of how you feel about your ex. If you are considering drastic measures such as not returning the children then stop and think about how this decision will impact your children, your future ability to co-parent with your ex and the impact it will have on your matter if it ends up in Court before a Judge.
- Don’t be the irresponsible parent. Just because your ex has been unfair doesn’t mean you have to retaliate and react in the same manner.
- As part of most holidays there will be additional financial pressures, increased emotions and increased consumptions of alcohol which may all lead to various incidents occurring in such environments. To ensure things don’t get out of hand, try to remain calm and focused and limit your alcohol consumption throughout the holiday period.
- Do not argue with the other parent in front of the children as this will only create an unhappy environment for them. The last thing you want to do is create more conflict or have an incident occur which may have domestic violence proceedings commenced against you.
- Do not criticise or degrade the other parent in front of your children. Your children love you both and their relationship with both parents must be protected.
LOOK ON THE SUNNY SIDE UP
- Considering what is in the best interest of the children is the overriding principle in Family Courts so ensure that everything you do is in the best interests of your children regardless of how you feel.
- Take whatever opportunity you can to see your children regardless of however small the time frame may be. Your children will be excited to spend even the smallest amount of time with you.
- Remember that the most important thing is to make the occasion special for the children. View this as a new beginning for yourself and your family so create some new traditions and find some new ways of celebrating the occasion as well.
- Surround yourself with positive and supportive people and try to look for something positive in every situation you are faced with.
- Remember that in time the holidays will get easier and better but for now you just need to get through your first one.
- Lastly and most importantly, always get legal advice about the options that are available for you to help you plan for the future ahead.