Separated families urged to make festive plans now
30 October 2014
A Scottish advice service is urging separated parents to sort out festive holiday arrangements now, and avoid a nightmare before Christmas for them and their children.
The Family Decision Making service for separated and separating families is a partnership including One Parent Families Scotland, the Scottish Child Law Centre and ParentLine run by Children 1st.
Jill Cook from ParentLine Scotland said:
“It’s an annual nightmare for a lot of separated families – who gets the children at Christmas? It’s such an important day for children and everyone in their family wants to share it with them from mum and dad to siblings, step siblings and grandparents. We can help parents come to amicable arrangements and the sooner they get in touch the better.”
It might seem early to be thinking about the Christmas holidays but Morag Driscoll from the Scottish Child Law Centre advises that it’s better to plan with time on your side:
“Celebrations that bring families together can be stressful when parents have separated. With Hannukah, Christmas and Hogmanay coming up our advice is to make plans early. We’re here to support you if you need some help to reduce conflict and make plans everyone can agree on.”
There’s never been a better time to get in touch with the Family Decision Making service. You can call any of the charity partners directly via phone and they can transfer you internally to the right person or people at all of the charities. The main point of contact, ParentLine Scotland – 08000 28 22 33, offers phone, email and web-chat 81 hours a week. The service operates year round, providing free and independent advice parents can trust. Its aim is to reduce conflict and help parents work together on decisions affecting their children.
More than one thousand families have already benefited from the support of the Family Decision Making Service since it was set up in March this year. They’ve received help to draw up parenting agreements as well as receiving advice on benefits, housing and legal matters.
Satwat Rehman from One Parent Families Scotland said:
“We know this is a difficult time of year for a lot of parents who have separated. There can be money worries as well as difficulty arranging opportunities for each parent and both extended families to spend time with the children. It’s tempting to put it off but the sooner you have a plan the sooner you can relax and enjoy the holidays.”