It’s the most wonderful time of the year for many, filled with joy and excitement. But what happens when Christmas isn’t feeling quite so festive? Sadly, the December period and into the New Year is a notorious time for divorces. Indeed, the first working Monday of each year is deemed “Divorce Day”. While this is a term mainly coined by the media, the New Year does tend to be when online searches for queries relating to divorce peak.
If you are considering a divorce during or shortly after the festive period, or you are experiencing your first Christmas after a separation, you may have several worries, concerns, or questions. This article aims to answer some of the main queries you may have and help explain the possible way forward.
Why is there an increase in divorce over the festive period?
Searches and interest surrounding the topic of divorce undeniably peak in early January, just after the festivities come to a close. There are a few reasons why this tends to be the case, such as:
- In many cases couples seek advice and file for divorce soon after Christmas as they plan to spend one more Christmas together and this is usually for the children’s sake. In such cases, they may have wanted to separate for a while but have put off any difficult decision making until they feel the time is right.
- The New Year is often associated with a fresh start and so couples may decide to embrace this and separate, offering a new beginning for everyone.
- Spending more time together over the Christmas period can add strain to an already struggling relationship. This, alongside money issues exacerbated by the festive season, may be the catalyst for divorce in the New Year.
No matter the reasons or the time of year, divorce is a stressful experience and there is never a good time. A professional and empathetic solicitor can help make the process easier for everyone. If you are thinking about divorce, get in touch with our team today to discuss how we can support you.
I’m considering a divorce. What should I do?
If you are contemplating the prospect of divorce over the festive season there are several things you can do to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Of course, divorce is not a pleasant experience for anyone, but it is essential not to make things unnecessarily complicated. If possible, seeking legal advice before the Christmas period begins may mean you are able to enjoy the festivities without worrying so much about the impending prospect of divorce.
Firstly, if you are sure that divorce is what you want, you should begin by drawing up a list of all assets whether held solely by you, by your partner or jointly, as well as any debts you may have either jointly or in your own name.
If you would like to separate and ultimately divorce you will need to find a family solicitor to help you navigate the process. A good family lawyer will be able to talk through your options without any rush, listen to any fears and answer your questions fully so that you are fully informed and can be confident that you are making the right decision. Your family lawyer will be able to quickly highlight any legal or financial implications of divorce that may influence your decision. Here at Setfords our team of professional and empathetic family solicitors are here to help you every step of the way. Get in touch with us today to discover how we can help you.
Divorce is a stressful and often upsetting time. To avoid complicating matters try not to involve family and friends and especially your children in any disputes. It is important to stay focused on achieving a fair resolution for everyone involved, particularly your children.
Setfords family lawyers firmly believe that divorce and financial settlement can be reached swiftly, amicably and relatively inexpensively if couples can focus on the issues at hand and try to avoid becoming entrenched in “he said/she said” communications. The festive season can heighten emotions, but with a good solicitor by your side, your divorce will be handled with sensitivity and can proceed as smoothly as possible. It is important to remain respectful towards each other and to work together amicably with the assistance of your lawyers to reach an early settlement in relation to the financial issues between you.
What happens to the kids at Christmas once we’re divorced?
As a part of a separation and ultimately divorce with children involved you should try to agree on child arrangements. This includes who will care for the children and when, where and with who they will live, and more. You may be wondering how the children will be able to share their time between parents at Christmas. As a parent, you have a legal right to see your children and be involved in their lives. Perhaps, more importantly, is your child(s) right to maintain a good relationship with both parents if it is safe for them to do so. Even the most amicable of agreements can be thrown into disarray at Christmas, regardless of previous discussions, and happens when both parents want to spend time with the children over the Christmas period.
So, how does Christmas work for divorced parents? If this is your first Christmas post-separation or divorce, you may be feeling upset at the prospect of Christmas without the children. Every situation is different and there are steps you can take to enhance the prospects of a harmonious festive season and to avoid legal fees at an already expensive time.
Firstly, you should try to communicate and come to an amicable and child-focused agreement. Perhaps one parent could spend Christmas Eve and other parent spends Christmas Day with the children and this arrangement could alternate every year. Or, if the children are very young, could they spend the morning with one parent and the afternoon with the other parent? Some separated parents even choose to spend Christmas together for the sake of the children.
Dividing the Christmas period is never easy, but no matter what you decide, it is a good idea to reach an agreement well in advance of the Christmas holidays and to take future years into account. Doing this helps to manage children’s expectations and also ensures everyone is satisfied that even if they are not going to be with their children this Christmas, perhaps they will be next year.
If you are struggling to reach an amicable agreement on your own, you may wish to consider family mediation as the next step. You can sit down together with a trained family mediator who will help you to reach a solution.
If you have not been able to reach an agreement directly between you, with the assistance of your family lawyer or with a family mediator the next step will be the Family Court. In most cases, you are expected to attempt family mediation before you seek intervention from the Family Court. The Family Court will try to assist parents to work together to agree on arrangements for the children through the year such as weekends, school holidays, birthdays, mother’s and father’s days and these arrangements will be recorded in a Child Arrangements Order. The Court’s paramount concern will be for the welfare and safety of the children and any Child Arrangements Order will be entirely child-focused and must be practical and workable for parents. An application to the Family Court can be contentious, stressful and result in costly legal fees. Wherever possible it is in the family’s interest both emotionally and financially to try to reach an agreement together about how you will share your children’s time.
If you are looking for a dedicated family lawyer to support you in your divorce and to help you reach an agreement concerning your children, please get in touch with Setfords today.