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Two homes, one Christmas

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We are all counting down until 2020 is finally at an end. But somehow at the same time it’s a shock that Christmas is less than 10 weeks away!

If you’re a separated parent, then alongside your gift shopping, now is the time to sort out custody arrangements for your children during the festive period.

The last thing you need is arguments about who spends what time with the kids, or who has to do the travel involved, spoiling your Christmas.

At a time for relaxing and recharging with family and friends, a little forward planning is crucial to help you and your children enjoy the festive break.

Even worse, if you’re struggling to face Christmas as a separated parent then you really don’t need the stress or drama of messy holiday arrangements.

Here are our top tips for what to do if you and your ex can’t agree who gets the kids for Christmas and New Year.

Just like your Christmas shopping—don’t leave it until the last minute

All of the options below depend upon there being some time to work through different options, to solve the disagreement. In some cases, if you wait too long after hitting a roadblock to take any action, then you might run out of time to work things out.

This can make for an unhappy Christmas for you and your kids.

Participate in mediation to try and reach a resolution

Government-funded organisations such as Relationships Australia and not for profit organisations such as Conflict Resolution Services are good options. These services often have lengthy waiting lists so don’t delay contacting them.

You can also engage a private mediator. We work with a number of private mediators that have experience with family law and custody disagreements. We can discuss with you suitable mediators for your issues and the personalities of you and your ex, plus represent you at the mediation (lawyer-assisted mediation) if you choose to have lawyers present.

Our founding Director Debra Parker is an accredited specialist in dispute resolution and in family law. As an accomplished mediator, she convenes mediations with and without lawyers present.

Engage a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf or for negotiation coaching

Meet with us to discuss with your rights and obligations and ‘reality check’ whether your ex’s proposals are reasonable and legal. We can talk you through the process if you need to initiate Court proceedings for Christmas contact orders or negotiate an agreement for you.

We can also help you come up with a strategy about how to approach the negotiations yourself, if you prefer to keep your costs down.

If all else fails, make an application to the Court

This is a last resort—but is sometimes necessary if you and your ex-partner are unable to agree on arrangements.

The closer it gets to Christmas, the more difficult it will be to get your matter heard in Court and orders made about the care arrangements in time for Christmas. You need to file your application by no later than the end of October.

As accredited family law specialists we can advise you about Court timeframes and your prospects in relation to a Court application.

Our lawyers will chat with you for free about your Christmas custody issues, in a 30-minute consult via zoom, telephone or face-to-face.

We’ll workshop with you the problem and possible solutions to help you have a hassle-free festive period.

Contact us on (02) 5114 2660 or at to arrange a time with us.

Limited sessions available, so get in touch to secure your spot.

Founded by a dynamic team of women, Parker Coles Curtis is Canberra’s newest boutique family law firm. Run by specialist family lawyers Debra Parker, Catherine Coles and Jacquelyn Curtis, Parker Coles Curtis are experts in helping people find solutions in both amicable and high-conflict separations. They help culturally and linguistically diverse families and the LGBTIQ+ community.  

This powerhouse team provide down to earth and practical advice with an empathetic approach. They help you to resolve your family law problems, stay calm and focus on a new beginning. Parker Coles Curtis assist with custody, property division, child support, divorce and family violence matters.

Call Parker Coles Curtis on 02) 5114 2660 or visit

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