Avoid the agony of divorce this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 12:35 16 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:46 15 June 2010

Christmas leads to more family break-ups than any other time of year, according to a leading Dorset family law specialist.

Christmas leads to more family break-ups than any other time of year, according to a leading Dorset family law specialist.Money, family, presents, parties and excessive drinking are all potential flashpoints, traditionally leading to a spike in business for solicitors in January with as many as one in five splits starting at this time of year, so much so that the second week in January is unofficially known as "divorce week". So Woolley and Co, which has 14 experienced family lawyers serving clients across the Midlands and South, has issued a list of top tips to help couples avoid getting hot under the collar over the festive season. Dos and don'ts include:l Don't make potentially life changing decisions in the heat of the moment, or after a little too much festive spirit.l Don't allow friends or family members to influence your decisions.l Do look for the help of an independent mediator to help resolve issues.l Do think about the children. Arguments or a prickly atmosphere are bad enough during the rest of the year but Christmas should be a special time for youngsters.l Don't agree financial arrangements if you have decided to split, until you have consulted a specialist family solicitor."There are so many potential strains over Christmas that it can put stress on even the strongest relationship," said Quyen Trickett, of Woolley and Co."We have seen our call levels go up and up over the last half of this year, with money worries in the current climate pushing people to the brink of divorce. "Christmas, potentially, will make the strain even worse, so it is important that couples don't inflame things at an unreal time of year." "Any break-up is emotionally draining and can be costly. Christmas time is a unique time of year and not ideal for making hard decisions about relationships without carefully thinking about the consequences. "A little too much alcohol alongside the stresses of the festive season can amplify existing difficulties. "If you do feel a split is inevitable, you may be well advised to seek help from a relationship counsellor first and then, if necessary, consult an experienced family lawyer." With around 150,000 couples now divorcing in the UK each year, as many as one in five splits come around Christmas. The average cost of a divorce is said to be more than £13,000.

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