What do you think about when it comes to Christmas? Crackers and Carols, or Contact? Christmas is usually a time for families and celebrations. Society today is filled with lots of mixed families - married mums and dads, separated mums and dads, step mums and dads and single parents. No two Christmases will be the same just as no two families are the same. Your idea of a perfect Christmas will not be the same as your friends or neighbours.
Contact becomes a much more emotive subject around Christmas time. Often both parents want to spend Christmas Day with their children. This can be a very difficult time for children whose parents are separated.
Any decisions made about contact must be in the child's best interests. It is not about what would make the adults happy. Think about what your child would want if given the opportunity to choose. Parents may think if they ask their child who they want to spend Christmas with they will get the answer they are looking for. In turn this will then decide the dispute with the other parent. However, asking your child may make them feel uncomfortable and they may feel unable to choose between mum and dad. It is often not in the child's best interests to question them about their views. That is even more so if the child is under the age of 12, as their view is less likely to be well thought out. Possibly the most common answer you may get from a young child who is asked who they would most like to spend Christmas with is ..... Santa!
Contact disputes are common. The legal right to have contact with a child depends upon whether the person holds parental rights and responsibilities. However, holding these rights and responsibilities does not mean you automatically get contact. The overriding principle is the best interests of the child.
If you have need advice about any aspect of contact/access or parental right and responsibilities get in touch with our experienced Family Law Solicitors in Edinburgh, Dalkeith, Musselburgh and Bathgate.