• December 2015
    Last Christmas?

    When you first took my hand

    On a cold Christmas Eve

    You promised me

    Broadway was waiting for me


    You were handsome

    You were pretty

    Queen of New York City…

    …We kissed on a corner

    then danced through the night

    The Pogues, Fairytale of New York

    Sadly, this well-known Christmas song from The Pogues moves on to a less romantic scenario with the couple arguing.  This can sometimes reflect the reality of family life over the festive season rather more than the traditional carols, which often paint an idealised picture of happy families sitting around a roaring fire with a sparkling Christmas tree.

    When the arguments aren’t just about who has the turkey breast, or who packed away the Christmas tree lights badly last year, Christmas can add intolerable stress to an already difficult home situation.

    All too often, the solution is seen to be a visit to a solicitor in the New Year.  It may seem strange for a family lawyer to say this, but divorce or separation is not necessarily your first (or best) option.  That may well be the appropriate way forward.  Sometimes, though, all that is needed, is to take a step back and make time to think and discuss the problems with your partner.  It is unlikely to be productive for such discussion to take place in front of your children or other family members, nor in the heat of the moment without the opportunity to reflect.

    Ideally seek assistance to make the best of your discussions.  Family counsellors or mediators are well placed to help.  It is important to choose someone who has experience and training with family issues, rather than someone who already knows the family, as neutrality and objectivity are both vital.  The last thing needed, is someone who may take sides.

    Unfortunately, all too often, one party or the other says “no” to counselling or mediation when the suggestion is first made, don’t be that person!  Left unresolved, hairline cracks in a relationship can become unbridgeable chasms, making home life unbearable for everybody in the family.

    During the Christmas break, counselling support will not be available immediately so whether it is a long-standing problem in the relationship that is coming to a head, or a recent crisis, try not to make any hasty decisions in the heat of the moment which you may later regret.

    You may find it is helpful to direct your energy into researching the help that is available.  Useful websites are,, and

    Of course, if you would like to see a family solicitor in the New Year, we will be here to help.  The subject matter of this article aside, Jackamans would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year.  

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