Christmas is supposed to be a time for family and friends, filled with giving, peace and goodwill, but it can also be the loneliest and most stressful time of the year. So it’s no coincidence that once the mistletoe gets taken down, January becomes peak season for relationship issues.
It’s little wonder. Christmas coincides with travel and school holidays and this can bring financial stress, family feuding, fatigue, alcohol use and the general mayhem and emotions of an extended family get together. Add in the stress of the big post-Christmas clean-up and the festive season can be the last straw in an already strained relationship.
So if you’re experiencing relationship problems how do you get through the next few months?
Here are five tips for surviving a separation in the holiday season from our family law team:
- Don’t get overwhelmed trying to do everything at once. Put priorities in place and deal with them one at a time. Secure your personal safety first if needed, then organise accommodation, get financial assistance, and seek legal advice.
- If you have children, get them a ‘normal’ routine as soon as possible, including keeping in touch with the other parent (where possible). Separation is incredibly stressful for the adults involved, but for children, it can be totally bewildering.
- Remember it’s OK to ask for help. Recognise when you need legal or practical assistance, and act on it as soon as you can. Experienced lawyers can give vital advice and refer you to appropriate services before things get out of hand. Counsellors can help you to avoid an emotional meltdown. And don’t hesitate to call on trusted friends and family for support.
- Take stock. Go through your financial records and other paperwork to get a true picture of your situation. What is your current income? Can you afford your living expenses? What are your assets worth? What debts are you responsible for? Gathering this information will help your lawyer to advise you and it will also give you a much-needed sense of control and the ability to start planning for your future.
- Forgive yourself. Separation is not a sign of your failing as an individual. Unfortunately it is the reality for many people. About 46% of Australian marriages end in divorce. A relationship takes two people to work, and two people to fail.
For further information or to arrange a consultation contact Catherine Henry Lawyers on 02 4929 3995.