With the festive period over, the first working Monday in January traditionally sees one of the busiest days of the year for family lawyers with the number of people separating increasing following the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Statistics on divorce regularly reveal a significant rise in the number of people seeking advice from lawyers after what can be an intense period for families and couples.

Relationships that have already been experiencing difficulties can deteriorate with the increased stress, not least the added financial pressures that a family encounters during this time, as well as the prolonged periods spent in close proximity.

The most recent Scottish Government statistics* reveal that of the 73,640 civil law cases initiated in 2016-17, there were almost 8,000 divorces granted. Divorce and dissolution made up 76% of all family cases.

Ruth Aberdein, partner and head of the Family Law team at law firm Aberdein Considine said: “For many people, this can be a stressful time and often pre-exiting relationship problems are brought into focus, with parties resolving to change their lives as a new year beckons.

A return to the normal routine after the holidays can help to reduce the stress but ultimately, separation and divorce may be an inevitable outcome.

Our experience is that a calm approach to disharmony is always advisable. It is important not to make any hasty decisions when tensions are at their highest and it can often be beneficial to talk to someone out with the family.”

There are a variety of way of addressing the child related, financial and practical issues arising from separation, including Collaborative Family Law, Family Law Mediation, traditional negotiation involving solicitors or Family Law Arbitration. Disputed Court actions tend to be a last resort but sometimes prove necessary where there are child welfare, personal safety or urgent financial issues. It is important to consider carefully with your Solicitor which approach might best suit your family circumstances.

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