No Reasoning This Christmas
Imagine the scene: it's Christmas Day and everyone around you is beaming, clutching the gifts you thoughtfully chose, wrapped, and gave with a heart full of festive joy. The turkey is tender and delicious, the tree is huge (a real one this year), and the fire is crackling away, keeping everyone warm.
Your grandparents sit hand in hand on the sofa, nodding off after few glasses of sherry, whilst Aunt Linda is mixing the Snowballs and letting adolescent Meg have a sip. Mum and Dad share a peck under the mistletoe, and everyone is, of course, content and happy with another expertly executed Christmas day.
Not Quite Joyous
In an ideal world, every Christmas would be like this; an eternally happy scene, like the ones immortalised in a snow globe. The harsh reality is that Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of year for families.
Whether it's arguments about why you thought a bungee jump 'experience day'
was an appropriate gift for Gran, whose turn it is to clear the table of the turkey carcass, or Meg necking the Advocaat when no one was looking – Christmas can be a nightmare.
And that's all before the Monopoly board and Trivial Pursuit are brought down for some 'family fun'
It's Getting Serious
When relationships break down, deciding what's best for you and even more so, for your children, leads to us receiving questions such as "how do we divide the children's time?"
and "how do we split the costs of presents this year?"
or perhaps even "how do we approach step-families at Christmas?"
– each case is individual, and we advise accordingly.
- You and your partner may be going through a rough patch and want to separate, but are worried about the financial side of things,
- You might be concerned about the emotional issues a separation or divorce might cause for the children,
- You might not be sure that a divorce is right,
- You're struggling to make Christmas plans about who will see the children and when this will happen.
All of the problems that can occur on or around Christmas day can often be made worse by pre-existing problems within families.
Problems for Parents
If your family is already separated, the festive period can be especially difficult. The 2014 Simpson Millar survey into the complexities face by divorced and separated parents at Christmas revealed that 42% of newly separated parents cannot remain on speaking terms to make arrangements, but only 36% of these had sought any legal advice to help them find a solution
Christmas should be a special time of year for children, yet it often isn't. Parents who are separated or going through a divorce struggle to maintain a civilised relationship with their ex; keeping the children happy at the same time is not always possible without some form of legal guidance.
Of the 1000 parents surveyed, two thirds of parents said their children's 'opinions and wishes are an important factor'
but only 13% admitted to asking their children what they wanted to do
An alarmingly high number, 39%, of the people surveyed had never sought legal advice in any form.Jenine Abdo, Family Law solicitor, comments: "Christmas should be a time to celebrate with family, but 1/3 of children don't grow up living with both parents. If you and your partner do not have a good relationship, sharing time fairly with the children can be tricky to coordinate. Getting the right legal advice from Simpson Millar will make the whole process much easier on you and the children."
The Next Steps
If there really is no reasoning with your family
this Christmas, Simpson Millar's solicitors are on hand to offer expert advice on any family related problems that you have. It can be daunting seeking legal advice at any time of the year, especially so around Christmas when emotions are already high.All of our lawyers are friendly, approachable, and will talk to you in very plain terms so you do not feel overwhelmed. A straightforward and jargon-free approach means you can rest assured you know exactly what is happening at any point during your case.