If the TV adverts are to be believed, we should all aspire to the perfect family Christmas, consuming sumptuous meals and relishing in our children’s delight at their presents.
For some families, however, Christmas can mean intense pressure, as the enforced togetherness of the holidays brings pre-existing tensions to the fore or the financial and emotional expectations become too much.
One of the biggest casualties of a stressful festive season are relationships. Family solicitors see a surge in new enquiries about separation on the first working day of the new year, so much so, it has been labelled divorce day or D-day for short.
The last weeks in December are busy for us too, as we become drawn into negotiating arrangements for the children of separated couples, especially about what is to happen on Christmas Day.
There are two schools of thought – some parents believe it is only fair to alternate Christmas Day between separated partners, whilst others think children should always wake up in their main home. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer. Different arrangements work for different families and it is our job to help navigate clients through these difficult issues.
My Taylor&Emmet colleagues and I are members of Resolution, an organisation whose ethos is to help resolve family disputes in a constructive way. The Resolution Code of Practice sets out principles to which we must adhere in our daily work, including reducing or managing conflict and confrontation, for example, by not using inflammatory language. We must also support and encourage families to put the best interests of children first and listen to or treat everyone with respect, without judgement.
If you or someone you love had a tough Christmas, don’t worry about seeing a specialist family solicitor. Please be assured we do abide by these values and treat your enquiry in confidence. Speaking to an expert is the only true way to learn how the law can help and explore the full options open to you.
To find out more, contact Taylor&Emmet on (0114) 218 4000 or follow the firm on Twitter @tayloremmet.