Tips to try and avoid family conflicts and divorce at Christmas

Unfortunately Christmas is sometimes seen as a major trigger in relationship breakdown with January often seeing twice as many couples begin divorce/separation proceedings than other times of the year.  

There are a number of reasons that Christmas can mean a breaking point for a relationship. The most common being additional financial pressures, excessive alcohol and the strain and stress of family gatherings. 

Therefore in order to try and avoid reaching crisis point some tips could include:  

  1. Go steady on the alcohol – many Divorce Petitions quote behaviour allegations exacerbated by drink and therefore if your marriage is under strain think carefully about having too much to drink as it could lead to you doing or saying something that you may later regret.
  2. Spending a lot of time together over the Christmas period can often put pressure on marriages, but think about the children. The children do not want to see their parents arguing over the Christmas period and therefore try and avoid any unnecessary confrontations. 
  3. If you are already separated, often Christmas can be a very difficult time if you are not seeing your children on Christmas Day, however children cannot be in two places at the same time and therefore if Christmas Day itself is spent with your former partner, try and be positive to the children, the children can have a great second Christmas with you. 
  4. Try and avoid overspending. A major trigger factor for relationship breakdown is financial pressures and difficulties. Before Christmas try and agree a budget with your partner, how much you are going to spend on gifts, who you are going to buy for and stick to it.

Ultimately however if you feel that your marriage has broken down irretrievably and you believe that a separation/divorce is inevitable then get proper legal advice at the outset so that you know where you stand in terms of finances, in terms of children, in terms of properties, pensions etc. Some proper planned advice at the outset will often save literally thousands of pounds of costs in the future after the parties’ positions become hardened. Smith Partnership offers a tailored fixed fee interview to all clients seeking advice on any aspect of family law of £100 plus VAT.

Ruth is a Partner in the Family department specialising in the financial aspects of marriage/ relationship breakdown. Contact Ruth by email ruth. jones@smithpartnership.co.uk.