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The Impact of the Festive Period on Marriage and Divorce

December 04 2018

The lead up to Christmas is often touted as exciting and merry for most, with celebrations and other festive activities occupying our schedules well into the New Year. However, family law solicitors like ourselves tend to experience more filings for divorce in January than any other month of the year.

As stated in The Independent, relationship experts argue that the pressure of trying to have a perfect Christmas in an unhappy relationship is what pushes partners to the point of wanting to file for divorce. It was also stated that in January 2017, relationship charity ‘Relate’ saw a 24% rise in calls to their helpline against the average month.

Whilst moods and spirits are supposed to be uplifted by the social construction of Christmas lights, adverts and merchandise, research suggests that such decorations and celebrations can have the opposite effect.

An article published last Christmas by The Guardian highlighted several by-products of Christmas that can increase stress levels. Below, we have listed a few and how the added stress can impact your marriage:

·        Festive workload:

Whilst many professions will be able to enjoy an extended break over Christmas, there are those whose jobs will require them to work longer hours beyond their contracts. There is a proven correlation between increased workload, lack of sleep, and stress, all three of which can influence mood and ability to communicate properly. This decrease in downtime is not ideal during a time that you want to spend with your partner and loved ones.  

·        Great Expectations:

The social media gaze can present an optimistic impression of how Christmas should be. Happy families, ambient festive lighting and decorations with a table full of food and a tree full of presents. In a time where finances can be restricted, it can be difficult to meet these expectations. Finances are also known to impact marriage and are often a factor that lead to divorce.

·        Over eating and drinking:

Again, the social construction and expectations of Christmas can lead people into celebrations that involve indulging in food and alcohol. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this over the Christmas period, over-indulging whilst suffering from stress will only provide a temporary fix. Many divorce filings stem from relationships that have failed due to alcoholism. The effects of it can cause partners to feel neglected, suffer from abuse and place children or other family members in danger.

Although the lead up to Christmas is not all doom and gloom, these by-products can potentially have an impact on your marital circumstances.

Grahame Stowe Bateson are a well-established family law solicitor based in Leeds and Harrogate. We have worked on a wide range of cases from domestic abuse, to divorce. If there are strains on your marriage as a result of the festive period or for any other reason, our lawyers are specially trained to deal with such cases. Feel free to get in touch with our various offices. Contact details can be found below:

Leeds City Centre - 0113 246 8163

Leeds Bramley - 0113 255 8666

Leeds Middleton - 0113 276 0044

Harrogate - 01423 562121

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