For some couples, spending a lot of time together over Christmas and New Year magnifies underlying major relationship issues. Which is why family law firms traditionally report seeing a spike in divorce enquiries during the month of January. But with more than 100,000 divorces granted each year, Helen Bradin, Partner at solicitors Bradin Trubshaw & Kirwan LLP in Lichfield, advises couples to first step back and fully assess their options before rushing to split up:

The Christmas holiday season can be a time when emotions run high and unhappy partners feel pushed to breaking point. But in my professional experience as a family law solicitor for 30 years, there are no winners when a relationship breaks down so it is vital to be sure that you have considered every aspect before calling time on your marriage.

Relationship Counselling

When a client comes to see me for the first time I am frank about what divorce or separation means in terms of time, finances and cost. Also if there is a chance that the marriage/relationship can be saved I advise that relationship counselling could help – Relate, for instance, offers face to face, phone and online counselling – but both parties need to be committed to making it work.

Be Prepared to Compromise

Splitting up is never easy. People experience a wide range of emotions from shock and denial to anger and hurt, disappointment and depression, self-doubt and failure, sadness, loss and guilt. Couples who work towards compromise however, particularly where children are involved, are most likely to come through the breakdown successfully. For instance, a parenting plan covering contact arrangements, holidays and schooling can help reduce the impact of a break-up on children.

Constructive Solutions

Some people choose to separate without going through the Courts. Ex-partners work with their respective solicitors in ’round the table’ style meetings with a view to reaching a mutual agreement, so avoiding the additional stress of going to Court. At Bradin Trubshaw & Kirwan LLP we are members of Resolution, meaning that we abide by a Code of Practice encouraging constructive and cost effective solutions to family problems.

Separation Options

Divorce is not the only available option. When a marriage comes to an end partners can elect to separate informally (without going to Court) by drawing up a Separation Agreement. Be aware though that an informal arrangement could be changed if it went to Court in the future so it is always advisable to get things in writing. If you choose to draw up a Separation Agreement it is a good idea to work out in advance what you wish it to cover, for example property, child and financial arrangements. However, a Court Order is the only final way of dealing with finances and a Separation Agreement could mean paying legal costs twice as it will need to be transferred into a Court Order at a later date.

Professional Advice

At Bradin Trubshaw & Kirwan LLP we appreciate that relationship break-ups can be complex and that each is unique. Our extensive experience means that we understand what our clients are going through and can guide them through the process as pain free as possible to secure a fair and satisfactory outcome.

For advice on family and other legal matters contact Bradin Trubshaw & Kirwan LLP on 01543 888275 for a consultation or email