With the Christmas season almost upon us it can be very difficult to be full of festive cheer when there are difficulties within a relationship; especially as such problems often seem only to intensify at this time of the year. Whether you have already made the decision to separate or divorce or whether you continue with the relationship, it is always helpful to be prepared. Try to keep the following points in mind:
Although you may no longer be together as a couple, you will always both be the children’s parents. Try to put the children first and prioritise their needs. At one stage within your relationship you were close enough to make the commitment to have children. If you are to separate they need to be re-assured of the love and interest that their mum and dad have for them. Do try to remember to treat children as individuals. If you have already separated, try to plan contact arrangements between the children and the parent with whom they do not live well in advance to ensure that there are no last minute difficulties.
Always try to keep the channel of communication between you open. This may prove to be extremely difficult at times but it will be the quickest and most effective way to resolve problems, however big or small. Politeness and a considered approach will help to move things forward. Deal with any issue as it arises if at all possible so that it doesn’t blow out of proportion by being left to linger. It can be too tempting to put a difficult issue to one side, with a promise that you will deal with it later.
There are neither winners nor losers. Try to avoid the temptation to gain any advantage from a situation for it may only be a short lived success which has a more damaging effect in the longer term. Although you may not achieve all that you want, any agreement which you reach is far more likely to work than an Order imposed upon you by a Judge at Court.
There are many agencies that can assist in resolving difficulties within your relationship and help you to deal with and understand the changes that you face. Sometimes, counselling can help couples to stay together. RELATE is one such agency that may be able to assist.
Under no circumstances should you tolerate threats or violence. Ensure your safety and the children’s safety. Should you face a domestic violence incident over the holidays, or sat any other time, you need to telephone the Police and arrange to see a Solicitor as soon as possible. Seek appropriate medical attention and ensure that a record of your injuries is made and photographs are taken. If your partner or spouse snatches your children, contact a Solicitor immediately (our emergency line is open over Christmas for such emergencies – call 01254 606050).
Don’t be undermined
If you have already started legal proceedings following the breakdown of your relationship, be alert to and aware of changes in your partner / spouse’s attitude which may be an attempt to undermine your confidence. Under no circumstances should you sign any documents without speaking with a Solicitor first. If you have already instructed a Solicitor, do not let your partner or spouse undermine the relationship which you have with your Solicitor.
Although difficulties in a relationship can often bring out the worst in most of us, there are more advantages to resolving issues in a civil and rational manner for the sake of all involved. It may be trite to say that this is the season of goodwill but it would be good if we could genuinely take that to heart.
By Antonia Love, Lancashire Divorce Lawyer