We speak to Family Lawyer Gabriella Pomare about how to navigate the festive season to reduce the impact of divorce and separation.

There is little doubt that separation or breakdown of a relationship brings with it grief, trauma and often anger. It all becomes a little harder when October rolls around and the shops start playing Christmas carols, decorations line the streets, and the constant reminder of Christmas Day is amongst us. Many separated families dread the idea of sharing their children over the Festive period – but it doesn’t have to be that way.

By working together as collaborative co-parents, you are protecting your children from conflict and the impact of divorce and separation. Children do best in environments where there is stability. Separation is the time to put your children’s wellbeing ahead of your own and to make decisions which encourage them to be raised in the healthiest and happiest way possible. Particularly during the holidays, putting your children’s needs ahead of anger and conflict, will allow you to co-parent in a more effective way.

As a Specialist Family Lawyer, Gabriella Pomare (pictured above) is used to dealing with parents navigating the forthcoming holiday period. Who will have the children over Christmas? How can the holidays be shared? What about our extended families? Can he/she come to the school Christmas Concert? Her biggest piece of advice is for parents to try to work together and communicate about these issues early. No body wants to end up in Court right before Christmas arguing about a time that is supposed to be happy.

With the right tools and boundaries in place, separated parents can coexist and the family unit does not have to completely break down – but rather, shift into a new dynamic. By implementing a set of agreed rules around your co-parenting relationship, you are giving your children the Christmas gift of safety, security and stability.

christmas co-parentingTools and tips for the Christmas Co-Parenting

  • Don’t leave it until the last minute to agree on Christmas Day arrangements. What works well for some families is to alternate odd and even years (for example from midday Christmas Eve until midday Christmas Day with one parent and from midday Christmas Day to midday Boxing Day with the other parent – alternating each year).
  • Keep negative discussions about your former partner or their family away from your child’s hearing. The worst thing for children is to be involved in or hearing distance of denigration about their other parent.
  • Give consideration to school holiday time with each parent that allows for the possibility of overseas or interstate travel. Be flexible and open minded. This is particularly relevant for children who have extended family internationally or across Australia.
  • Start a dialogue about present giving. It is always awkward when one parent buys an extravagant gift for their child. Try and set a joint budget, chat about your child’s interests and exchange ideas.
  • Talk about Santa. Have a collaborative view on how to explain what is happening particular to your child. Children who live in two homes may experience things differently but do not need to miss out on tradition.
  • Keep Christmas child focused. This is not a day for you or your ex – it is a day to ensure your children feel loved, supported, secure and part of a healthy family environment.

For more on how to healthily communicate with your co-parent – check out Gabriella’s Free E-Book “Communication is Everything” at The Collaborative Co-Parent (https://thecollaborativeco-parent.com.au/ ).

Gabriella Pomare is a Partner at Family Law Firm, The Norton Law Group, located locally at 2/137 Blues Point Road in McMahons Point.


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