Dealing With Marital Separation After The Christmas Holidays

03 January 2017

The Family Law Department here at Worthingtons traditionally find that January each year is one of the busiest months for new inquiries for legal advice relating to family relationship breakdowns, divorce and separation.

By Clare Curran, Partner, Family Law Department Worthingtons Solicitors

The Family Law Department here at Worthingtons traditionally find that January each year is one of the busiest months for new enquiries for legal advice relating to family relationship breakdowns, divorce and separation. Whilst December is busy in the run up to the Christmas break for already separated couples, many seeking advice and assistance on issues pertaining to the arrangements for children over the holiday period, January normally finds us fielding new enquiries from people looking for assistance and representation in respect of relationship issues. It often causes us to ponder why it is that the New Year seems to herald a decision for so many to take the step of formalising their relationship breakdown by contacting us.

According to a recent Daily Mail article the counselling service ‘Relate’ consider that ‘the stress and expense of trying to have a perfect Christmas can add up and become this big pressure cooker that explodes’. Priscilla Sim, a relationship Counsellor at Relate states that January is a time of reflection which many see as an opportunity for a new start. Ruth Sutherland, the chief executive also feels that as people spend concentrated periods of time with each other this can bring negative aspects of relationships in to focus.

It is certainly our experience that there is an increase in the amount of people at the start of each year who consider that the time is right for seeking legal advice about their relationship breakdown and whatever the reason may be, we at Worthingtons have specialised, experienced family law practitioners here to guide our clients through the, no doubt, daunting prospect of separating from their partner or spouse and all the legal issues that may arise as a result.

So what can we do to assist you if you have decided that your relationship is over?  We can talk you through the various options and help you decide what path is right for you. We can assist you in negotiating a financial settlement without having to go to court, we can discuss whether mediation would help you narrow any issues in dispute, we can explore whether taking a collaborative approach, where you and your estranged partner/ spouse contract not to go to court, may suit, or we can represent you in issuing court proceedings, if this is ultimately necessary.

We will talk you through the relevant financial issues you may have whether that relates to child or spousal maintenance, sorting out ownership of property and other assets, sorting out the division of debt, advising you in relation to ownership of any pension provisions, inherited assets, claims or any other financial issues which may arise.We can also advise you in relation to issues in dispute pertaining to any children of the relationship.

Where appropriate, we can represent you in respect of obtaining a divorce or judicial separation, if your marriage has broken down irretrievably and there is no prospect of a reconciliation.

We will also assist if there are emergency issues such as the requirement for assistance in relation to urgent protection in cases involving domestic violence or the need for emergency injunctions.

We will talk you through the availability of legal aid funding if it applies and will be transparent about the costs of your representation if not.

Whatever the reason, and indeed whatever the time of year, we have the experience, expertise and sensitivity to deal with any issues for which you require our help.

Clare heads the matrimonial, family and childcare department at Worthingtons and has extensive experience in this area.  She deals with all aspects of separation and divorce, financial settlements, pre and post nuptial agreements, cohabitation issues, civil partnerships, domestic violence proceedings, Children Order matters, and care, adoption and wardship issues.  She is also trained and qualified to practise collaborative law, a system designed to assist couples in seeking a resolution of their matrimonial issues without resorting to going to court.

You can contact the Family Law Department by telephone on 028 91 811538 or email for confidential advice and assistance.




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