‘Tis the season to… divorce?
The tabloid media will have you believe the Christmas period is the catalyst for a high percentage of relationship breakdowns and that January is actually boom time for family lawyers.
In fact, January often sees twice as many couples begin divorce proceedings as any other time of the year, with 7th January being touted as D-Day, or ‘Divorce Day’ due to the increased number of enquiries relating to separation.
Why do divorce rates increase after Christmas?
There are a number of reasons that relationships break down during the artificial Christmas period, but the spike can often be attributed to the strain of spending time together during festivities, the stress of family gatherings, financial pressures and excessive alcohol.
Or it may simply be that couples wait until after Christmas to start divorce proceedings, preferring to protect family members and avoid upsetting children.
Either way, our family law solicitors have some tips for ensuring that the festive season goes as smoothly as possible.
Keeping the peace at Christmas
Firstly, go steady on the alcohol. Excessive alcohol intake may encourage unwise candour, so could lead to you doing or saying something that you may later live to regret. Think before you drink!
More time with each other than is normal can lead to family breakdowns, but consider the detrimental impact on your children. They don’t want to see their parents arguing and fighting over the Christmas period so remember to put your children first, however frustrated you may feel with each other.
If you’re separated from your partner, then it’s important to respect the fact that children cannot be in two places at once. If they’re not with you on 25th December, there’s no reason for them not to have a great second Christmas Day. Be positive about their other parent and the time your children will spend with them. They’ll be happier for it.
Of course, if the relationship does breakdown and you have to remain under the same roof, be civil. Hastily freezing bank accounts out of retaliatory spite isn’t sensible and will only cause you both difficulties, especially at this time of year.
Similarly, whilst destroying possessions may seem a good way of venting your anger and frustration, there may be a cost implication once lawyers become involved.
And if you’ve considered your options, assessed your future and decided – rationally – that your New Year’s resolution is to seek a separation, then first make sure you’ve explored the options for reconciliation before contacting a family lawyer.