New Year’s Relationship Resolutions
Hopefully most people had a peaceful Christmas break and are embracing the New Year with positive resolutions and excitement about what the future has to bring. However the sad fact is that for many this time of year is the last straw that breaks the back of the relationship camel.Whether it is caused by a bad present, intolerable in-laws, stretched finances or simply spending more time together than usual, statistically more people split up after Christmas than at any other time of year. The Office for National Statistics says that 42% of marriages will now end in divorce. Maybe pausing to reflect on one of life’s milestones concentrates the mind (people in their early forties are the most likely to divorce), but whatever the reason the average marriage now lasts only 11.5 years – although some people stay in difficult relationships only because they are frightened of the implications of a split.
There are organisations to help struggling relationships (such as Relate*), but if people are thinking about ending them it is imperative they seek professional advice before acting impulsively, warns Gloria Dyer, a family law specialist at Gill Akaster LLP Solicitors.
“Emotions can run high at this time and people may want to act quickly, but doing so without having practical plans in place can backfire” says Gloria. “For example, leaving your matrimonial home could lead to disputes over its occupation. There are also childcare provisions to think about; warning your partner you are leaving without knowing your rights could mean you come home one day to find them gone.”
Michelle Grove is partner at Gill Akaster and accredited by Resolution** in Advanced Financial Provision. She works with high finance issues following divorce and cohabitation. Michelle adds: “Announcing you are leaving in the heat of the moment can make you feel better for a second, but if the children are witness to this and become embroiled in the dispute, you may regret not pausing to reflect and seeking advice first.”
Hopefully, people can resolve their differences without resorting to court battles – Michelle is a trained mediator and both she and Gloria are accredited by Resolution, whose members are family lawyers committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. But if all else fails, the advice is to seek professional guidance before acting in haste and repenting at leisure.
Note to Editors
*Relate offers advice, relationship counselling sex therapy, workshops, mediation, consultations and support face-to-face, by phone and through its website – www.relate.org.uk