Christmas holiday time is a great time of year to unwind, and spend some quality time with your family; a time to share happy memories and good times.

However, what is meant to be fun time with family can easily escalate into a stressful time of fighting and failed expectations. Add into the mix the increased festivities and mix of alcohol and the atmosphere can bring many existing relationship problems to the surface.

Holiday time is also a time for self-reflection and many people use this time to reflect on the year gone and that one ahead, thinking about New Year resolutions and their future happiness and unhappiness.

In many cases, this leads people to making the decision to split once the holidays are over. Consequently, come February we are generally quite busy as divorce lawyers.

One thing I encourage you all to do before jumping in head first, is to take the time in the holidays to look hard at your relationships, work out what feels right and what feels wrong. Celebrate the good in your relationship; foster it, encourage it, do more of it. Think carefully about whether it is something that can be saved.

It may be that you need some help working through the issues rather than calling it quits. Talking to people always helps. An obvious first step is a marriage counsellor. There are some highly trained and specialised counsellors who can help move your marriage back to where it once was or can help you identify whether it really is time to call it quits. I encourage you to talk to those people.

It also sometimes helps to have some preliminary legal advice about what would happen if you did separate, so you know what to expect and not stay in the marriage if that is not what you really need, purely because you are afraid of the uncertain future of divorce. A good lawyer can also give you recommendations of other professionals you may need and give you access to first class marriage counsellors, divorce coaches, psychologists and therapists, all trained in different areas of dispute resolution management, to get you through the phase you are in.

So, these holidays take the time to consider what works and what doesn’t, think long and hard about the choices you have and how you feel about each of them, so that come the end of the holiday period, you have some clear direction about what is right for you.