The Christmas period and the Christmas school holidays can be a difficult time for separated parents. The Family Court requires that, if there is a dispute about parenting, it be filed before 8 November, which has now passed. The Federal Circuit Court of Australia will accept applications if the circumstances warrant it. However, you should not leave things to the last minute.

Some couples alternate Christmases, other people alternate the Christmas Eve to Boxing Day period and a further group split Christmas day itself. Which one suits you and your former partner depends on where your family is located, where your ex-partner’s family are located, the age of the children, and cultural factors.

For example, in many cultures Christmas Eve dinner is the important celebration, rather than Christmas Day lunch. Also, pay careful attention to alcohol consumption if you are going to have a handover during this period.

Ann Northcote