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'Remember the kids' – lawyers urge couples to retain focus on their children on Divorce Day 2020

Lawyers urge couples to retain focus on their children on Divorce Day 2020

An expert family lawyer reminds parents looking to separate of the need to put their children first as the legal industry claims to see a rise in divorce enquiries during the first week of the year.

The first working Monday of a new year has become known as ‘Divorce Day’, as one of the most popular days of the year for seeking legal advice, as couples who were unable to resolve their issues over the festive period reach out to specialist lawyers. In 2020, ‘Divorce Day’ has fallen on 6th January.

Fiona Turner, Family Law Specialist from Weightmans, which saw a 172% increase in enquiries on Divorce Day 2019, said:

“The Christmas and New Year break is often a time for reflection on the year that has passed and setting goals and plans for the year still to come. Unsurprisingly, this can be a trigger for conflict and disappointment. While this period of reassessment can lead to families taking positive steps towards improving their relationships, unfortunately it can also lead to separation or divorce.

“Divorce is, for the most part, not something couples undertake lightly. This is especially true for parents, for whom the decision carries even greater weight and significance because of their children.

“It’s a good moment to remember the ‘welfare principle’ enshrined in the Children Act 1989, introduced 30 years ago – namely that children and their wellbeing are put front and centre in all decisions. No matter how acrimonious a split, couples must think about the medium - and longer - term implications for their children.

“Where children are involved we urge couples to take early legal advice, and to explore options such as mediation and collaborative law, to help engage in a supported conversation about difficult issues. Legal disputes involving children can be complex and require careful guidance, and operating in the absence of practical and sensible legal advice can often cause more problems than it solves.”

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