Christmas can push relationships to breaking point. The expectations, expense and enforced togetherness result in a surge of enquiries about divorce come the new year.
This phenomenon typically peaks on the first working Monday in January, which has been dubbed ‘Divorce Day’ and is much talked about by solicitors and the public alike.
D-Day is considered the most likely day of the year for married couples to decide to go their separate ways, which leads to many divorce applications being sent to the courts in January.
As a specialist in family law, people often joke with me about what a busy time January must be for divorce solicitors. Sadly, for those who are truly suffering relationship problems, it is not a laughing matter.
The excitement of Christmas can quickly turn sour for couples whose family life is already difficult. Many, particularly parents of young children, are keen not to ruin the holiday season and will allow tensions to simmer below the surface, either in the hope that things will improve, or that they can be addressed once the festivities are over.
Come the new year, emotions are often at boiling point and in the tradition of making resolutions, many decide to take positive action to tackle the problems they are experiencing.
Identify your issues
A toxic Christmas is no good for anyone – you, your partner or your children – no matter how keen you might be to preserve the magic of the festive season.
It is important for couples to identify the problems in their relationship as soon as possible. Papering over the cracks and hoping they will simply disappear is not healthy. Seeking legal advice early, rather than attempting to carry on regardless, can help crystalise the issues you face and enable you to move on in a more pragmatic and amicable way.
There are, of course, cases where little or nothing can be done to salvage a relationship, particularly if you are experiencing abusive behaviour. If you find yourself in this position – be it coercive control or physical abuse – you should seek immediate legal advice and assistance from the police if necessary.
If you believe your relationship can be salvaged, or you would like extra guidance and support heading into this difficult Christmas period, there are options available. We can put you in touch with relationship/marriage counsellors, mediators and others who practise alternative forms of dispute resolution. To speak to us about your options, don’t hesitate to get in touch.