Often the first week of work post-Christmas break is usually a busy time for solicitors with many enquiries from couples take the first step towards accepting that their relationship isn’t working by seeking advice about getting a divorce. But what is it about the festive period that pushes so many couples to this point?
As with the majority of divorces during the rest of the year there is rarely one single isolated event that causes one of the spouses to request a divorce. Most usually involve the cumulative effect of certain actions or behaviour over a period of time
The difference with Christmas compared to any other time of year is the added stress it brings, which can be both financial and emotional. The preparation for Christmas such as shopping (and the expense that goes with it), visiting relatives, endless queues everywhere you turn makes for a pretty intense period so it’s easy to imagine the pressure building up any relationship.
The festive ‘spirit’ also has a part to play – drinking more alcohol than usual can result in disagreements which are magnified and cause pre-existing tensions to escalate.
Sadly there is also an increase in reported cases of domestic abuse over the festive season. While domestic abuse is certainly not a seasonal issue, the Christmas period may mean the abuse, or fear of abuse is worse.
After the pressure of presents and family gatherings is over, some couples might just no longer want to be together and see the start of the New Year as time to make a change.
Certainly, our experience is that Christmas itself does not cause divorce, and in many cases it can actually delay it for a few months. Instead, the added stress that comes with preparing for the holiday season escalates and exacerbates pre-existing relationship problems. The anticipated surge in inquiries is not as a result of Christmas being the straw that broke the camel’s back. The decision to separate is not one that is taken lightly and couples will likely have already considered divorcing for a number of months and hold off announcing their plans until after the festive period, mainly to avoid upset among family members, particularly children.
If you’re considering getting a divorce, it’s important to remember that there are ways to make the process easier for yourself and your children. Depending on the level of conflict and the existing relationship between the couple there are a number of routes available to use such as mediation, collaboration or straightforward negotiation between solicitors. Our expert and friendly family law team can advise you on all aspects of divorce and will help to minimise the stress and upset.
Please contact Sarah Feeney, Associate email SFeeney@gilsongray.co.uk or telephone +44 (0)141 530 2034