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Parenting Arrangements over the Holiday Season

Family Law

As the December/January school holiday period is fast approaching, separated parents often consider their parenting arrangements over the holiday season. If you do not have Parenting Orders from the Court specifically providing for Christmas/holiday time with the children, conflict may occur during the holiday season due to disagreements over the time the children are to spend with each parent. Rather than celebrating the holiday season and the children enjoying their time with each parent, these disputes create stress for everyone.

Factors to consider regarding Christmas/holiday parenting arrangements include:

  • That the December/January school holidays are 6 weeks in length. How is the time to be divided between each parent? Some parents alternate each week of the school holidays and others divide it equally so that the children spend three consecutive weeks with each parent. Each family’s situation is different and consideration should be given as to what arrangement works best for the children taking into account their needs, ages and maturity.
  • How are the public holidays shared? For example, is religion important? Does one parent wish for the children to observe religious traditions?
  • Does one parent spend Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning with the children and the other parent will spend from midday on Christmas Day until Boxing Day with the children? When is it convenient for changeover to take place on Christmas Day? Bear in mind that the day is often very busy and delays occur and Christmas lunch may actually take place mid afternoon.
  • Whether a parent wishes to travel overseas with children during the holiday season, e.g. to visit extended family? Is the other parent unlikely to consent to overseas travel?
  • If you have Parenting Orders in place and the other breaches the order, do you need to make an urgent application to the Court regarding the breach of the order?
  • If you do not have Parenting Orders from the Court and the other parent is refusing time with the children over the holiday season, do you need to make an urgent application to the Court seeking Parenting Orders?

The last day for filing an application seeking Parenting Orders for the Christmas holiday period with the Family Court of Australia is 4.00pm on Friday, 8 November 2013. It is important that you lodge your application prior to this date. In relation to filing an application seeking urgent Parenting Orders from the Federal Circuit Court, there is no cut off date for filing applications however the listing of a matter by the Federal Circuit Court will depend on the wording of the orders sought, the urgency of the matter and the availability of hearing dates prior to the Christmas holiday period.

If you require assistance and legal advice regarding obtaining Parenting Orders or your current parenting arrangements, please contact our experienced Family Law Team on 9411 4466.


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