16th Jan 2020

New year, new start, new life?

A bad start to 2020? You’re not alone – it’s a well-recognised phenomenon that family lawyers have an increase in the number new cases every January. Sadly, some relationships cannot make it past Christmas and the New Year.

If you’re in that unfortunate situation, you’re probably wondering what on earth you should do. Where will you live? When will you see the children? How do you pay for everything? If so, here are some first steps to consider:

  • Budget. Working out what you spend and what is genuinely essential is something you have to do. It’ll help you get control over what is going on and focus on how you are going to manage. Remember, you might now be budgeting for two homes.
  • Sort out living arrangements. Initially this will probably be on a short-term basis – staying in the same house during separation, even for a relatively short period of time, is not workable even if you’re doing it for the sake of the children. One of you is going to have to move out.Try and approach this rationally and see what is in the best interests of everyone when making that decision. Each having your own base will make it easier to have rational discussions about the long-term future.
  • Talk to the children. Reassure them the situation is not be of their making or fault – they’re likely to feel that it is. Also, be careful not to blame the other parent even when you think it’s their “fault”. In most cases the children will still love and want to spend time withboth of you. They need reassurance about this.

It is easy to make these suggestions in an article you may say, and I do know that reality may be quite different. So, two further things to think about:

  • Get some support. This can be from a counsellor, a friend or family member. However, whoever’s support you seek make sure that they can be objective and not partisan. Clear thinking is what is needed.
  • Get some professional advice. Knowing what your rights are is helpful and discussing with an experienced family lawyer will assist you to focus on potential outcomes.


Stephen Root is one of Yorkshire’s leading family lawyers. Highly praised by industry guides Chambers and Partners and Legal500, he has been supporting divorcing couples for over 30 years.

Berwins' dedicated and friendly team is here to help. If you have a matter you would like to discuss with Stephen and the team, please get in touch by calling (01423) 509000 or use our contact form online and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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