Every year we place high expectations on the festive season as families unite and everyone strives to make the perfect roast dinner! It can be a very emotional period and some of us have tough things to face so we’ve outlined some of the most common festive traumas along with our top tips to hopefully make things that bit more bearable…

Family Disputes…


  • Money trouble is a big worry especially this year. Consider the following to help you save a few pennies if you find yourself if a family dispute.
  • Think twice before asking the court to intervene on a family matter. As stated by Supreme Court Justice Lord Wilson, most family disputes can be resolved out of court saving money and unnecessary emotional trauma. Consider mediation or collaborative law.
  • Be aware of the changes to legal aid. There is a very high chance funding will be reduced in the near future and the ability to acquire legal aid will be restricted in most areas of family law.



If you opt for the dream Christmas wedding be aware of all the implications.

  • On marrying, all of your assets become the assets of your partner. To clarify the division in your finances you can sign a pre-nuptial agreement but be careful as these agreements are not yet recognised in the eyes of the law.
  • However, if you prefer to cohabit then ensure that you appreciate there is no such thing as a marriage of cohabitation. Make sure you clearly show how you each intend to own the property that you share. If you do not and the court cannot decipher how you intend to own the property then they will divide it as they see fair.
  • Beware of cohabitation after divorce. This factor has a considerable impact on the courts assessment of your socio-economic situation and may result in a reduction in your maintenance payments.


Break Ups…

The festive season can be stressful and it may be the event that leads families to breaking point.

Divorce is aggressive and emotionally charged. It is a fault based process and you need to show that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. To avoid this trauma in the festive season consider counselling or mediation to reach an agreement and calm emotions.

  • Children are paramount to every family – especially at Christmas. It is important to know that:
  •  On divorce or separation, automatic Parental Responsibility of the child goes to the child’s mother or the child’s father if married.
  • Any agreement or order for Parental Responsibility ends automatically on the child reaching 18.



For many families there is the added worry of bringing a new partner into the family at this time of the year. There may be tensions about becoming a step-parent.

A step-parent can get Parental Responsibility if the child’s parents who already have Parental Responsibility agree to it or by order of the Court.  

But Most importantly…

Make the most of the festive season, indulge and take no shame in enjoying the New Year sales!

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