Our anticipation reached almost boiling point on Christmas Eve when our parents made us go to bed as early as possible (for those in all states but Queensland this meant going to bed when it was daylight usually) with the fear that if we didn’t go to bed ‘Santa’ may miss our house and then the joy and excitement of waiting to see what ‘Santa’ had left in our stockings, under the tree, or for the writer, a large Christmas pillow case.
Christmas morning was all about emptying the stocking (or pillow case) one item at a time and then, once the stocking was empty (and shaken to be sure of this), time was spent looking at each item, checking it all out, looking at what siblings received and getting excited all over again at the number of new things I received.
After the excitement of the stocking inspection finished, typically it was breakfast time which normally consisted of a ‘big breakfast’ or a buffet breakfast to cater for everyone. It was a time to relax after the Christmas opening, a day when I knew, even as a child, that it was a rare occasion in a household with at least 1 working parent, that no one had to go anywhere.
At various times as I was growing up my parents took me to church on Christmas morning and whilst this was not such a terrible thing (and not the subject of this article), the interference of my Christmas day was something that upset me even though I knew that I was returning to my presents and the Christmas lunch (no doubt the irony of my sense of injustice will not be lost on those who attend Christian churches).
In a perfect world, all children should be able to enjoy this whole day with their parents and their families and whilst Christmas has a different meaning for many, from most children’s perspective it means Santa, presents, food and family (most likely in that order too)!
For most children in separated families, Christmas is not as described above, sometimes in the lead up to Christmas, Mum and Dad have been fighting about who has what time on Christmas Day, what day the mid part of the school holiday falls, and what day school holidays actually start, on top of this is the financial stress of Christmas suffered by many families (usually in an effort to give their child(ren) an enjoyable Christmas) as well as work stress at this time of year.
Many of us forget that children observe everything, and a lot of the time the things we do not want them to hear, see or feel (including our stresses and conflict) is what they pick up on. Then on Christmas Day, children are removed from one parent to another.
Without a doubt, in most matters before the Court, an Order is made allowing a child (or children) to enjoy part of the Christmas period with both of their parents. The Court recognises that Christmas (or the Christmas period being from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day) is an important day in the calendar of most households but it is important to remember that the Court’s role is what is in the best interest of a child (or children); not what the parents want.
In so many parenting matters before the Court, the Judge is often heard telling parents words to the effect of “you are the best people to decide on the arrangements for your children, I do not know your children”, it is common sense really.
The following are some things to consider in the lead up to Christmas and in trying to resolve ‘festive season’ arrangements for children:
Sally is an Accredited Family Law Specialist with Stone Group Lawyers. Sally has experience in all aspects of Family Law and has particular experience in dealing with more challenging cases involving entrenched parenting and property disputes.
A person, a not for profit organisation or a company that employs fewer than 10 people (and is not related to anther corporation nor is a public company).
In order for a statement to satisfy the legal definition of defamation, the statement must be untrue. Someone has said simply something about you to which you take offence, is not necessarily defamatory.
For a statement to be deemed ‘published’; it must have been communicated to a third person either intentionally or unintentionally.
The defamatory statement must identify you specifically or be reasonable taken to be about you.
If the defamatory statement you take issue with has not injured your reputation, then it will most likely not satisfy the legal definition of defamation. For example, if someone has spread a false rumour about you that you are a terrible dancer, you are unlikely to have recourse.
The first step in pursuing an action in defamation is sending a Concerns Notice. A Concerns Notice is a written letter sent to the person who made the defamatory statement adequately describing the alleged defamatory material and seeking a remedy (including an apology).
If you have received a Concerns Notice, you could write an offer to make amends such that it is in writing and is readily identifiable as an offer to make amends. The letter could include:
– an offer to publish, or join in publishing, a reasonable correction of the matter in question;
– an offer to pay the expenses reasonably incurred by the aggrieved person; and
– an offer to publish an apology in relation to the alleged defamatory publication.
If you accept the offer to make amends, you cannot sue the maker of the defamatory statement as the matter is then deemed resolved.
If an apology made by the person who made the defamatory statement, it does not constitute an express or implied admission of fault or liability.
If someone alleges that you have made a defamatory statement, you could rely on the following: