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Family Law Blog

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Don’t let holidays drive family apart

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The bumper Easter holiday bonanza is almost upon us. Easter plus royal wedding equals fewer days at work (hurrah!), so more time to enjoy with your extended family (…). Perhaps not cheers from all quarters on that one.

In fact, not everyone is cheering the extra day off either. Small businesses are complaining it will cost them a fortune. One Warwickshire entrepreneur I spoke to, thought the Royal Wedding would cost him about £40,000 in payments to staff for an extra day off and in lost production. Running a business is stressful enough at the best of times. Add a recession and an enforced extra day off with all the additional unbudgeted costs that entails, is not as welcome as the Royal Family might like to think.

For what it’s worth, I’m looking forward to it. I won’t be rushing outside to meet the neighbours with trestle tables, a Union Jack hat and mobile disco, but I will be raising a glass to a couple who I hope will be very happy. Maybe they will even restore some people’s faith in fairytale weddings and happily ever after.

The time off could turn out to be an extra source of stress for some families as well as business owners though. With Easter dinner and street parties, this might be the only time of year other than Christmas when individuals end up spending more time with extended family than they would like. In-laws (or outlaws) arriving can be like tossing a hand grenade into a house if tensions are already running high within a family, perhaps caused by money worries or just “going through a bad patch”. Even the most harmonious house can be thrown into turmoil.

So here are my dos and don’ts for staying calm in the face of family adversity:

  • Don’t make potentially life changing decisions in the heat of the moment, or after a little too much alcohol
  • Don’t allow friends or family members to influence your decisions
  • Do look for the help of an independent mediator to help resolve issues
  • If things do go too far, don’t agree financial arrangements if you have decided to split, until you have consulted a specialist family solicitor.

Any break-up is emotionally draining and can be costly. This Easter marks a fairly unique holiday that could become a crucible for pent-up frustrations and emotions. A few extra hours drinking may not help either. Don’t let it get the better of you.

Around 150,000 couples divorce in the UK each year. The average cost of a divorce is said to be more than £13,000, although I have to say our own figures suggest it’s less than half that figure. Don’t let a bumper Easter send you down that path. Keep calm and carry on. That should be the Royal Family’s message to the nation this Easter.

Andrew Woolley
Family solicitor

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