It’s (apparently) the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, or so the song goes, but for some couples, the thought of spending time with their other half for a prolonged period of “fake fun” is just too much to take.

Christmas places pressure of couples and families who are not getting along and this is often why some couples separate after Christmas.

Alison Gaddes, family law solicitor at Wake Smith looks at why the festive period is not so much fun for some.

“It has long been recognised by family solicitors that there is an influx of new instructions in the New Year, for a variety of reasons.

“We see those couples who have separated over the festive period seeking advice, or those who have been separated for some time, but have decided New Year, new start.

“Sadly, there is an influx of domestic violence incidents over the Christmas period, when increased stress and consumption of alcohol adds to the increase in domestic violence offences.

“Protection is available through the Family Court where the police are unable to deal with the allegation.

“Some separated parents fall out over child arrangements over the Christmas period, which can often reignite previous disputes or bring new ones to the forefront. 

“For all its glitter and sparkle, sometimes Christmas celebrations can leave some people feeling despondent about the future or determined to make changes next year.

“The term “Divorce Day” coined by the media is the first Monday after the Christmas Break. This year it falls on the 7 January 2019.

“New enquiries is not all that peaks during January. Last year over 40,000 individuals in the UK searched on the internet for ‘divorce’ in the month of January.

“There is a vast amount of information online about divorce and separation, not all of it is accurate and not all applies to you and your family.

“Family law, more than any other area of law, is bespoke to the people involved. It is therefore important that individuals seek specialist individual advice about their circumstances, rather than relying on online resources and online forums for advice. 

“The Courts also see an influx of new cases issued in January. Already overstretched, hard-working court staff, and Judiciary are dealing with a reduction in trained staff, consolidation of court hearing centres and an increase in litigants in person. These are all factors which add to a delay in the courts ability to deal with cases quickly.

“We find that the majority of clients that are seeking recourse through court, believe the hype of the quickie divorce.

“What they fail to realise is that it can take six weeks to issue a divorce petition in some Divorce Centres and it will take three months before you secure a First Appointment in financial settlement proceedings. It can also take around three months to get a first direction appointment in Children Act proceedings.

“We cannot provide you with the answers to all your questions, but we have put together the following guides to give you some initial guidance and consideration.

If you would like further individual advice and assistance then please contact Alison Gaddes on 0114 224 2188 or at

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