Byline: BY VICKY ANDERSON Daily Post Staff
LAW firms in Liverpool could be bracing themselves for a New Year divorce boom as couples stressed by the Christmas period end their marriages.
Some leading specialist practices reported taking on up to three times their normal number of divorce cases after last Christmas.
A survey for the information website Insidedivorce.com found as many as one couple in five seeks advice on divorce after Christmas.
Extra festive drink at Christmas parties is often blamed for causing the wave of family misery that can wash up in the offices of law firms early in the New Year.
Over-indulgence is not necessarily a cause, however, but often a symptom of problems such as extra financial pressures from the Christmas shopping spree, disparate relatives being thrust together, and estranged parents being separated from their children.
For many specialist family solicitors, the Christmas break falls in the middle of a season of ill-will between couples and former partners, often ending up being resolved by the courts.
In the run-up to Christmas, arguments between former partners about contact and residence increase, often requiring lawyers to intervene.
Between Christmas and New Year injunctions may be needed to restrain abusive and sometimes violent partners.
Then, in February, when both the financial consequences of separation and the unpaid Christmas bills hit home, there is more work to do handling ex-partners' debt problems and, possibly, bankruptcy.
John Binks, North West region acting regional director of the Legal Services Commission, which runs a free legal helpline, said: "Christmas can be a very stressful time that puts relationships under a great deal of pressure and some of them don't survive. It is at difficult periods like this that we work with our skilled and dedicated providers, to ensure people get the help they need.
"Wherever possible we support mediation to help resolve people's problems before they get to court but sadly this is not an option for every couple, especially where domestic abuse is involved. …