Belfast Telegraph

January is a busy time for family law issues

Clare Curran
Clare Curran

By Clare Curran

Here at the family law department of Worthingtons, year after year we find that January is one of the busiest months for new inquiries for legal advice relating to family relationship breakdowns, divorce or separation. 

Whilst December is busy in the run up to the Christmas break for separated couples, many seeking advice about childcare arrangements over the holiday period, January normally finds us fielding new inquiries from people looking for legal advice in respect of the end of a relationship for the first time. 

It often causes us to wonder why it is that the New Year seems to herald a decision for so many to take the first tentative step of contacting ourselves.  Perhaps the stress and expense of trying to have a perfect Christmas takes its toll on family relations, maybe the concentrated period of time with each other over the Christmas break brings negative aspects of relationships in to focus, sometimes an overindulgence in alcohol over the festive period plays a part.

For others the start of a new year may result in a period of reflection, and with that, the opportunity to make a fresh start.

Whatever the reason, it is a widely recognised phenomenon in legal circles that there is a peak in the number of people at the start of each year who consider that the time is right for seeking professional advice, so much so, that some lawyers refer to the first working Monday in January as ‘Divorce Monday’.

 So what can you expect if you are one of those who feel that the time is right to engage the services of a family lawyer?

There are a number of ways in which the legal ramifications of a relationship breakdown can be resolved.  One common way of sorting out financial matters is to enter in to negotiations to bring about a financial settlement, known as a ‘matrimonial agreement’. Such an agreement can address an array of issues such as child or spousal maintenance, ownership of property and other assets, the division of debt and pension provisions, and the sharing of inherited assets, claim proceeds or any other financial issues which may arise.

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If it is not possible to reach an agreement, ultimately an application can be issued to a court. However, if both parties are willing, these disputes can usually be resolved constructively, without huge legal costs being incurred and without years of acrimonious litigation. The right legal advice should save you money, time and assist you in achieving the right outcome for you and your family, hopefully resulting in many happy new years to come.

Clare Curran is a specialist family law advisor and can be emailed on clare@worthingtons or telephone the office on 028 9181 1538 to discuss any issue in confidence

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