Have you thought about this year’s Christmas yet?
I said to a couple I met the other week, “It’s almost Christmas”–that is Christmas is ONLY another 10 months away.
We often get asked whether there are peaks and troughs when it comes to our workload and the answer is yes. Family lawyers traditionally are very busy in the lead up to Christmas (generally because of parenting matters and school holidays) and in January and February, when school goes back.
The other peaks Separate Together experiences are around the Easter period and September.
What we’ve observed and found is that the decision to separate, made right around the time of the New Year is generally a decision that either the couple or a person has been mulling over for several months.
Couples seem to come to terms with the decision early in the New Year versus later in the year because they don’t want to be in this same situation and feeling this way in 12 months’ time. For them, reaching an agreement about their financial split in particular, generally happens fairly quickly after separation—as in 1-3 months after but that will depend on how complex one’s finances are.
Where one person has made the decision to separate, generally it takes longer for them and their partner to reach an agreement about their financial split. We would say the amount of time is around 6 months or longer before the agreement is then finalised, but again, this also depends on the complexity of the finances.
You might be wondering why does it generally take longer? Because the person on the receiving end of the decision mightn’t yet had the time to grieve the end of the relationship. Emotions keep getting in the way of progress. Pushing someone before they’re emotionally ready can be met with resistance, distrust and burying one’s head in the sand.
I suppose what we’re saying is, if the decision to separate has been made, bear in mind these timelines because they will inevitably impact your plans, special holidays, occasions and your emotions.