Clarity for the Christmas Bubbles of separated families

Amidst the controversial and perhaps logistical nightmare of deciding which family members/friends get to be part of your exclusive Christmas Bubble of 3 households, there is one part of the Government guidance that thankfully is both clear and simple.

Children of separated parents can move between their parents’ Christmas Bubbles, even if those Christmas Bubbles contain 3 totally different households in each of their Christmas Bubbles. 

It is worth noting that support bubbles count as 1 household during the Christmas Bubble but informal childcare bubbles do not – they are counted as 2 households.

When deciding Christmas arrangements for children, parents will have to also consider the vulnerability of those within the bubbles they wish to form. 

If parents are unable to reach an agreement about Christmas arrangements, and feel that they have no option but to seek legal help, their main options are to:

1. Try to agree arrangements through a specialist family law mediator (this may be a non-lawyer mediator, a solicitor mediator, or a barrister mediator)

2. Negotiate through solicitor correspondence

3. Appoint a Family Law Arbitrator to decide the arrangements – the decision would then be legally binding on the parties. (Qualified Arbitrators are senior solicitors, barristers, and retired judges)

Unfortunately since we are now less than a month away from Christmas, there would be little point in making a court application as it is very unlikely you would have a hearing in time.   

1.3 Separated parents of children under 18

Children (under-18) whose parents do not live together may be part of both parents’ Christmas bubbles, if their parents choose to form separate bubbles. Nobody else should be in two bubbles.