Our advice to stressed couples suffering from festive fallout

The period after the festive break has been identified as one of the peak times for stressed partners to seek out advice about ending relationships. This has led to the first working Monday in January being dubbed by the media as ‘divorce day’.
This year that day saw lots of chat on the various social media platforms about the rights and wrongs of such a label. Here at Merrick we believe that if you do face relationship issues there’s never a wrong day to get the right advice.
One in five people in the UK are living in a distressed relationship, according to relationship support charity Relate. Problems can be exacerbated by extended time spent together over Christmas, financial pressures and individuals looking to the New Year to make a fresh start.
There is, however, help available. If you aren’t yet ready to contemplate the end of your relationship it’s definitely worth considering some form of counselling or, if there is a specific issue, another dispute resolution service, such as mediation.
Relate is, perhaps, the best-known provider of counselling services for couples but the NHS offers a similar service if one – or both partners – has a mental health problem, such as depression, that is affecting the relationship.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that divorces between opposite sex couples in England and Wales rose by 5.8 per cent in 2016 to 106,959. There were 112 divorces of same-sex couples in the same year.
If you are contemplating divorce it is important to empower yourself with information and take legal advice as soon as possible. So many clients attend a first appointment having pre-determined that the separation will leave them homeless and with nothing or never seeing their children again. In the vast majority of cases neither of these propositions bear any resemblance to the outcome.
Having enough money to live and the future of any children are primary concerns in most break ups.
Whatever forum you use to resolve any financial issues a full and frank exchange of information is likely to be required going back at least 12 months. Draw up a list of everything you know about your other half’s financial circumstances and make a start on getting all your relevant paperwork in order.
It’s never easy trying to establish a co-parenting relationship whilst in the throes of a separation but if you have children that is what you have to strive to achieve and, for their benefit, as soon as possible.
The family court has wide-ranging powers to deal with children issues, but it cannot resolve any emotional stuff between the two of you caused by the relationship breakdown. Don’t lose sight of your real objective – damage limitation for your children.
Experts agree that at such a stressful time it is also important that you take time to look after yourself by eating healthily, exercising and getting enough sleep. Remember to surround yourself with people that make you feel good and always be kind to yourself, allow yourself to make mistakes but learn from them.
Everything passes eventually, the future can be bright…