The start of a new year is often a time for review and reassessment.
The break from the regular routine over the festive period gives many the time to ponder their life and their priorities. Spending long uninterrupted periods with family can unfortunately bring to the fore issues that remain hidden at other times of the year.
And some in failing relationships resolve to act.
As such, the first working Monday of the new year has become labelled ‘divorce day’ by the media. Many in the legal profession are keen to distance themselves from the negative connotations of this.
Our view is quite simple. If your relationship is in trouble, whether it’s the first day of a new year or the last day of the old one, there’s never a bad time to seek out professional legal advice.
Amanda Merrick said for an individual contemplating divorce or just wanting to know what their options might be – it is important they empower themselves with information and take legal advice as soon as possible.
She said many clients attend a first appointment having mistakenly pre-determined that separation will leave them homeless, financially adrift or never able to see their children.
In most cases none of these propositions bear any resemblance to what actually happens.
Put simply – having enough money to live and the future of any children are primary concerns in most break ups.
Amanda said: “It can be 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.”
But Amanda also urges people to prepare themselves if the relationship is beyond this point.
She said: “It’s never easy trying to establish a co-parenting relationship whilst in the throes of a separation. But if you have children that’s what you must strive to achieve 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. Try not to lose sight of the real objective – damage limitation for your children.
“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 as soon as possible a list of everything you know about your other half’s financial circumstances. Also making a start on getting all your relevant paperwork together helps to ground you in the facts.
“This can be particularly helpful should emotions subsequently take over and cloud your recollections.”
Want to know more about how Merrick can help? Click here.