The “silly season” sees people overindulging in alcohol and festivities. Many families spend more time together within a few weeks than they do over the rest of the year which can cause a strain at the best of time. Combine this with the summer heat and financial stress of Christmas, and a fragile relationship can completely break down.
As family lawyers, January and February are traditionally busy months when people who have separated over the holidays seek legal advice.
Before separating, there are some important points to think about:
- Have you tried family counselling? Is this relationship worth working on? Can things be resolved?
- Have proper arrangements been made for the children? Where will they live? How much time will they spend with each parent?
- When are you going to tell the children? Do you have a joint plan to let them know about the changes in a sensitive way? Do they know that both parents still love them, and that the separation is not their fault?
- Will one of you move out of the house? Does the house need to be sold? Can you afford two households?
- Who will pay the expenses? The mortgage, rent, bills, groceries, school fees?
- Have you gathered all of your financial documents? Bank statements, tax returns, passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate etc?
- Do you know what your legal rights are? Are you giving up more than you need to? What are you really entitled to? Is there anything that you need to be careful of?