Family & Divorce

Why the New Year can mean divorce and a fresh start

For some couples in unhappy relationships or marriages, a new year makes them think about a separation or divorce.

17 Dec 2021

Team name
Sally Ward

Sally Ward

When is the right time to file for divorce?

Couples often delay divorce proceedings until certain events have occurred, such as Christmas, exams, summer holidays, to avoid upsetting the wider family. For some couples in unhappy relationships or marriages, a new year makes them think about a separation or divorce.

Whenever the decision is made, there will be a period of managing the relationship until it is time to end it.

So, what can you do before you start proceedings? In this article, divorce and family lawyer Sally Ward provides an overview for anyone who is not sure where to start.

Domestic violence and/or abuse

If there is domestic abuse (emotional, physical, or sexual) or harassment in the relationship, then you should never wait to separate. You should take immediate advice as you may need to ask the court for an injunction to protect you.

Looking after your children’s interests

If you have children, it is worth reading up on how to break the news to them. Children will absorb information differently depending on their age so you may need to take a different approach with each of your children. If parents manage the transition from one big family unit to two separate ones sensitively, most children cope well. There is a view that children are better with two happy parents who love them but who live apart, rather than two desperately unhappy parents who love them but stay in an unhappy marriage purely for their sake.

If the divorce has a negative impact, it is helpful to keep in touch with their schools and read up on the signs to watch for.

Looking after yourself

Going through a divorce or separation is one of the most emotionally challenging life events so make sure that you have support from friends and family, or go to a counsellor, to see you through the difficult times and to see things from a neutral perspective if things get too emotional. Having support with the emotional side of a relationship breakdown makes it easier to deal with the legal side.

Privacy concerns

If you have not yet separated it is important that you are careful with your search history so that your partner does not know what you are looking at. It is also important to make sure you know all the passwords to your accounts.

Warning: do not to investigate your spouse’s financial papers or online accounts or take copies of their documents as self-help disclosure is not permitted in divorce proceedings.


Find out what your assets are worth. Understand your financial position before you begin to think about a division of assets. You may need to speak to a financial adviser.

Take advice early

It is also important to take advice from a specialist family lawyer at an early stage. This can put you in the best position when considering a separation. Your lawyer can talk through the law that relates to divorce, financial settlements and child arrangements. They will also run through the procedure and the range of options for negotiating settlements, the costs, the time frame and a possible outcome.

M&P Commentary

Sally Ward, Head of Mullis & Peake’s Family department, said:

“Building a rapport with your divorce solicitor is vital; you will have to have frank and honest conversations with your lawyer and having a good relationship with them will make sure any difficult or unpalatable advice is taken in the best possible way.

Fear of starting anything new comes from a lack of understanding, but with knowledge and support, you can make the right decisions.

Our family team offers an initial consultation of up to 40 minutes free of charge so that we can guide you through these issues and advise on the next steps. To arrange an appointment please contact 01708 784000.”


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