So, Christmas is over for another year, the tree and decorations have been taken down and we are all settling into a new year. For some, it is true that the new year will mark the start of a divorce or separation. January is often portrayed as the “month of divorce”, with people rushing to their lawyer’s office; however, this is not always the experience of the Family Law solicitor.
There’s never usually the ‘right time’ to end a relationship and although a difficult festive season may be the final straw for some couples, many studies have shown that there is no real pattern of when people decide to draw a line under their marriage.
If the Christmas holidays were the catalyst for a relationship break down, it’s often the case that individuals will seek support from family and friends in the first instance, rather than immediately calling a Family Law solicitor.
Additionally, if one partner has made the decision to end the relationship, it will understandably often take the other person some time to process the situation and to be ready to engage in the separation process. Therefore, it can take many months for a couple separating in the New Year to be ready to move forward with a divorce, both emotionally and practically.
For those couples who are contemplating divorce, now or in the future, the advice we give is always the same.
1. Friends and family – they can be great as a source of support, but the situation may also be hard for them and their advice, whilst well intentioned, may not always be helpful. Many of our clients find that speaking to a counsellor is more useful, as they are able to offer completely impartial support.
2. Seek legal advice early – getting advice from a Family Law specialist early on is very important, as they can give you a clear idea of your position, answer any worries or questions you may have and can set out what you should expect throughout the process. Many people wish to simply “do a deal” to achieve a quick settlement and move forward. However, being too hasty and acting without specialist advice could mean that you do not achieve a fair deal for yourself or your family, which could impact your long-term financial future. Get the information you need as soon as possible, so you can make the best decisions from the start.
3. Keep children away from it - with emotions often running high, children can often be pulled into disagreements or difficult situations which can have a really negative impact on their wellbeing. Their welfare comes before anything else, so try to shield them from the situation and don’t speak disparagingly about the other parent to them. If you need more advice on speaking to children positively about divorce, Relationships Scotland has some resources for both you and your children.
4. Social media – using social media in a negative way, for example making comments about your ex, will only make the situation more difficult and could work against you later on in the process. If in doubt, it’s safer to delete any social accounts until things have been resolved.
Separation and divorce can be painful, stressful and confusing and it will always be a difficult time. However having support from a Family Law specialist with experience and expertise who is able to offer empathetic advice can make the process a lot easier.
For more information, contact our senior Family Law specialist Jenny Broatch for a free and confidential initial phone consultation, or book an introductory meeting to discuss your circumstances for a fixed fee of £200.