Published: 4 January 2013
"It's the most wonderful time of the year" – or so the song says, but for some families at Christmas, this isn’t always the truth. Christmas is the time of year when we usually see our families the most, spending valuable time with our partners and children. For others Christmas is not such a joyous occasion as it can highlight problems or a fractured relationship, which can lead to conversations about separation.
Statistics show that the festive period can act as a catalyst for couples getting divorced. Family solicitors receive more divorce related enquiries in January than in any other month of the year... but why is this the case?
One obvious reason could be linked to our hectic day-to-day lives. We don’t spend as much time with our families as we should, so as we start to take a break and wind down for Christmas - we simply spend “too much” time with our families. This could mean that any underlying tensions are brought to the surface, highlighting problems that you might not even know existed. Families that may be distant from one another are forced to interact and make decisions together – which can lead to conflict and more arguments then before. If a relationship just isn’t working it can be easier to ignore the problems when you are away from each other. However, as you are brought together for the festive period suddenly those problems surface and are harder to ignore.
For some, the thought of entering into a New Year can encourage people to think about their futures and even a new beginning. For those who are unhappy in their marriage, a new start could be what they are looking for. The New Year can also bring hope, but sometimes this doesn’t prove to be a reality. Just because one year has ended and another has begun, doesn’t mean that an unhappy marriage then becomes a happy one. The reality of this can be difficult for some to take, which leads to conversations about divorce. This isn’t always the case with unhappy marriages, as it can inspire couples to work harder at their relationship so they can enjoy the coming year together.
Christmas may get the blame for couples starting to think about separation, but it doesn’t cause divorce. For divorce to happen there must have been some underlying problems to begin with. The positive way to look at it is that whatever the situation, the festive period can help; whether it means bringing happy couples closer together, or resulting in unhappy couples splitting up - we are all striving for happiness in our relationships and home lives and sometimes the right decision isn’t always the easiest one.
This article was written by K J Smith, specialist Family Solicitors in London with years of experience in dealing with traditional divorce, mediation, cohabitation and everything else related to family law.