Counting the cost of divorce: Why newly separated parents may struggle to afford Christmas

In 2021, the number of divorces increased by almost 10% . That’s 10% more couples now spending their first Christmas apart, and that’s also 10% more divorced parents trying to work out how to afford Christmas.

When parents separate, their combined family income is suddenly divided into two: two sets of utility bills, one renting and one paying the mortgage, two sets of food shopping, two cars to insure, and much more

The there’s Christmas. It’s going to inevitably cost more as well, with two homes to decorate and heat, two turkey dinners (or equivalent), two sets of presents, etc. There’s at least two weeks of school holidays to cover for starters, and not to mention the logistics of two homes and only one Christmas Day.

BUT it doesn’t have to be this way. Over the years, LGFL Director and family lawyer Rita Gupta has helped hundreds of couples through divorce and beyond. As a working mum herself, she has a wealth of tips to share on how divorced parents and their children can have an affordable Christmas with less stress and confrontation, less time in the car and, yes, less cost too.

From stress-free child arrangement plans to not competing over presents, why parents should ignore the Christmas ads, and even why splitting Christmas Day between you might be a bad idea, Rita’s articles and videos contain helpful advice for any parents struggling with affording their co-parenting this festive season.

Should you split Christmas Day?

This is probably the biggest issues amongst separated parents with children; who “gets the kids” for Christmas Day?

It may seem that the fairest way is to divide the day between your two homes, but as Rita explains in this article, the practical and emotional issues usually outweigh the benefits.


Child arrangements

Making arrangements for the two weeks of Christmas holidays is crucial to managing expectations and avoiding emotional calendar clashes. If you haven’t made yours yet, or are struggling to reach an agreement, NOW is the time to act.


Christmas stress and New Year breakups

Rita appeared on BBC Radio Berkshire last year to help listeners with advice and insights. Read the transcript here.


Tips on children's Christmas presents for divorced couples

A short video by Rita with some top tips on how to handle the Christmas present issue.

Children’s book reviews

There’s just time to get in your orders for Christmas books that help children understand a Christmas spent with separated parents.

"Last Stop on the Reindeer Express”


“What if Santa can’t find us?”

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