Elise Alma, Partner and Head of the Family Team at Coodes Solicitors, gives her advice to couples who are worried about how their relationship will survive Christmas.
All relationships go through rocky patches and, if things are tense, Christmas can be a particularly difficult time.
If you are trying to work out what to do about your relationship, there are so many things to think about that it can be overwhelming. As well as the obvious emotional stress there are a number of practical things you might feel you need to consider. Here are the key things to focus on.
Get advice and support
Many couples find that relationship counselling helps them sort out problems and get back on track. Relate offers counselling that has saved many marriages, so that is well worth considering. If you feel you want to start exploring the possibility of separating, take legal advice as early as you can. It will be confidential and, even if you have not yet decided what you want, it will help you understand your options.
Put the children first
If you have children, their needs have to take priority. Having parents who are at war with each other is incredibly upsetting and unsettling. Your children need to have a good relationship with both of you so don’t bad mouth the other parent.
If you and your spouse or partner need to have some time apart over Christmas, think about how your children can still spend quality time with both of you. It is important not to move out of the family home without getting legal advice.
Focus on your finances
Money has been cited as one of the top ten reasons for divorce. It is certainly a very common source of arguments among couples. Christmas is an expensive time, so it can be very difficult if you and your partner have different views over how your money should be spent.
Often in a marriage or long-term relationship, one person looks after the money. It is really important for you both to be familiar with the family finances. Make sure you understand the household income, what your outgoings are, and what mortgages, debts, pensions, saving and investments you have.
However things are going with your relationship, it is important for you both to know that you shouldn’t move assets without the other person’s consent. Don’t start dividing your finances or valuable assets before getting legal advice. If you are concerned about how your spouse or partner is handling the family finances, keep a close eye on things and seek advice.
Don’t rush into any major projects
If you are re-evaluating your life and your relationship then this is not the right time to embark on a major project such as moving house or building an extension. Get legal advice before borrowing more money or committing to a major expense.
Christmas can put a strain on any couple. If you feel you need to re-evaluate your relationship then focusing on the most important things should help you to make the right decision.
For more information or advice on any Family matters, please contact Elise Alma at Coodes Solicitors on 01566 770000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.