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Christmas Holiday Time with the Children

Christmas Holiday Time with the Children

With the festive season upon us, you may be thinking of your children and the care arrangement options available to you for Christmas Day and the holiday period. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to children’s care arrangements as a variety of factors can influence a decision made by a Judge but there are some orders that are more common than others which tend to occur in the majority of family law matters.

The first and most common order is a special occasion order.  This arrangement consists of the usual time each parent spends with the children being ceased to allow specific time to occur for Christmas Day.

A Christmas Day special occasion order usually provides that the children spend time with each parent for a certain number of hours on Christmas Day and may include overnight time from Christmas Eve or leading into Boxing Day.

This arrangement can be beneficial for the children so they do not miss out on seeing either parent or their respective extended families on Christmas Day.

An example of the Christmas Day special occasion order is:

The children spend time with the parties for Christmas Day 2016 as follows:-

a.       With the Mother from 2.00pm on 24 December 2016 until 2.00pm on 25 December 2016; and

b.       With the Father from 2.00pm on 25 December 2016 until 2.00pm on 26 December 2016.


Another order, although less common than the first, is a 50/50 holiday split. This arrangement consists of the children spending the first half of the Christmas holidays with one parent (including Christmas Day) and the second half of the Christmas holidays with the other parent.  The holiday time alternates in the next year so that the first parent has the children in the second half of the Christmas holidays and the second parent spends time with the children in the first half of the Christmas holidays (including Christmas Day). 

This arrangement can be beneficial to families that wish to maintain separate households and may wish to take the children on a family holiday for their half of the break without it being broken up by Christmas Day.

An example of the 50/50 holiday split order is:

The children spend time with the Mother as follows:

a.       In 2016 and each alternate year thereafter for the first half of the Christmas school holiday period commencing in December 2016 from the conclusion of school on the last day of Term 4 in each such year until 5.00pm on the middle day of the said holiday period; and

b.       In 2017 and each alternate year thereafter for the second half of the Christmas school holiday period commencing in December 2017 from 5.00pm on the middle day of such holiday periods to 5.00pm on the last Saturday of the said holiday period.

The children spend time with the Father as follows:

a.       In 2016 and each alternate year thereafter for the second half of the Christmas school holiday period commencing in December 2016 from 5.00pm on the middle day of such holiday periods to 5.00pm on the last Saturday for the said holiday period; and

b.       In 2017 and each alternate year thereafter for the first half of the Christmas school holiday period commencing December 2017 from the conclusion of school on the last day of Term 4 in each such year until 5.00pm on the middle day of the said holiday period.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Nothing in this blog should be deemed to create or constitute a solicitor-client relationship between any readers and Swan Lawyers. A solicitor-client relationship is created only when this firm agrees to represent someone and a written engagement agreement or engagement letter is signed by both the client and solicitor. In all cases, the reader should consult his or her own solicitor for advice. The information in this blog is based on Australian law.