Don't Let Christmas End With a Divorce

The joys of Christmas loom with good cheer and family gatherings…. blending with a volatile combination of Queensland heat, alcohol and family tensions.
Family lawyers will tell you it’s a recipe for relationship breakdowns so Cassandra Pullos is urging all couples to recognise the warning signs and act first to ensure the holidays don’t end in divorce.
“It’s easy to remind people to be respectful and loving to their families during a challenging and perhaps financially difficult time but there are some key messages the community needs to take on board. Number one is ensuring Christmas is a happy time for our children,” she says.Family lawyers see the down side of the holiday season because too often it involves pressure on relationships due to a volatile mix of heat, alcohol and holiday spending pressures.

“Unfortunately we see a lot of relationship breakdowns over the holidays with emotional and financial pressures at their peak,” she says.

“There are enormous financial pressures on many people at this time of the year. The regular bills don’t stop coming and with Christmas gifts and the pressure to buy more, plus fund holidays or host visiting friends or family, it can place a huge financial burden on people in the New Year,”.

Cassandra says too often cash-strapped people succumb to tempting ‘no deposit, pay later’ deals which could backfire when the bills come due months down the track.

Too often, arguments over money could split a family and destroy a relationship. Family lawyers have to deal with the consequences such as the process of formally dissolving relationships.
It’s important for couples to address ways to prevent a relationship breakdown in the New Year, and Cassandra urges couples to work together to anticipate and deal with problems before they occur. A watch on spending, especially credit card spending, is important.

Couples experiencing difficulties with finances should consult financial counsellors.

Couples enduring stress can first access counselling, obtain some legal advice on their legal position and consider mediation to work through issues.

A first step is acknowledging this is a highly emotional time, and avoid confrontational situations. Anticipate the problems before they arise.

If there are strains in the relationship, couples should avoid situations where alcohol and family stress are mixed. Relationship problems could also impact heavily on children. Cassandra urges parents to put the happiness of their children as a first priority.

“Family Lawyers usually see couples after the relationship has broken down. The atmosphere is sometimes volatile, and sometimes there’s no great wish to resolve things reasonably.

“Try and recognise the early warning signs and take action, such as counselling, to prevent the relationship collapsing,” she adds.

For those might need it, The Family Court has an emergency service available over the Christmas break, even on public holidays if orders are required to secure the safety of children – for example to stop them being taken out of the country.

The Court registry will also be staffed with skeleton staff to assist people in dire need. Whilst the full complement of Judges won’t be sitting in January there will be Judges available to hear and determine urgent matters.

Our office will be closed from 22 December until 5 January but there are arrangements in place for clients to contact the firm in the case of emergency over the break.