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A post-Christmas marital meltdown?

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A post-Christmas marital meltdown? Partner Alison Webber gives some seasonal advice

It’s not a widely known fact, but for several years post-Christmas divorce rates have seen a steady rise.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that around 42% of marriages in England and Wales will conclude through divorce. It’s a sad fact that a sizeable proportion of marriages within that 42% will fall apart around the busy, and often stressful, Christmas period.

Now that we’re entering into a new year, many couples may have already come to the decision that their marriage has gone wrong and divorce is the only option. To help couples make those difficult decisions, here I’ve answered some of the key points separating couples must consider quickly if it’s all gone wrong.

1       What should I do first?

Think again. Is it really all over, or have you just had a bad family Christmas? We always advise you to think carefully before you make a final decision. It is a major step however long you have been together with your partner.

2       Is there help for us to try and sort things out?

Yes, there’s help throughout the region and organisations like Worcester Relate offer very effective counselling services.

3       What if we can’t agree on the terms of our split?

If you decide you must go ahead and end your marriage, we strongly advise you to try and agree as much as you can. We always try and achieve an amicable divorce or split as it’s is better for everyone - emotionally and financially.

4       Does it make it more difficult with children involved?

It certainly does but the children should always come first. Try and agree the arrangements for your children as they will be happier and healthier if you can. You can choose to stop being a couple but will always be a parent.

5       We married only last summer, but we want a quick divorce. Is that possible?

That’s not possible. The law states you will need to wait 12 months from the date of your marriage. Summer 2019 is the earliest you can actively engage in divorce proceedings.

6       I am not married but we have been living together as a couple for over two years. Does this make me a common-law husband/wife?

This is a widely held view which is completely wrong. There is no such thing in law and you do not have the rights and protection of a married couple. We suggest you speak to a family solicitor who can advise you.

7       I don’t really have a ground for a divorce but I believe ‘no fault’ divorce has now come in?

Most people agree that the ‘no fault’ process is a good idea but it’s not yet law. So the existing grounds of adultery, or unreasonable behaviour, still have to be used if you haven’t been living apart for two years or more.

8       How will my finances be dealt with?

The law requires a list of factors to be taken into account before a final decision can be made. Things like the age of the parties and length of the marriage, as well as their health and respective separate and joint finances, are just some things to be consider. Just because a friend or relative achieved a particular outcome does not mean you will get the same. Come and speak to a family solicitor and we can advise you.

If you would like to discuss further how we might be able to help you through a difficult and complex divorce, please contact me through