Welcome to the second post of our four-part series. Just in time for Christmas, we’ve written about the hot topics we know cause stress and tension for families during the festive period.

Don’t let Christmas spending create problems for January

It’s that time of the year when you hear Mariah Carey on every radio station, and get bombarded with endless TV jingles and everybody, but everybody is full of festive joy and goodwill…

Unfortunately the pressure that comes hand in hand with creating a ‘perfect’ Christmas can mean that it’s easy for families to forget what’s important and ending up fighting over money.

But there are ways to avoid the arguments, and simply enjoy the big day.

1. Consider January in December

We tend to see a lot of clients seeking divorces in January, and quite often stress and tension around money problems can exacerbate existing relationship troubles, or provide the final straw that breaks the camel’s back. To avoid money problems, or worse come January, it’s always sensible to discuss household spending with your spouse and try to reach agreement on a budget.

2. Discuss Christmas gifts for children

For ex-spouses with children, spending on presents can cause issues. Following a divorce, it’s not uncommon for one parent to be left with significantly less money than they had access to during the marriage. This may mean that the presents they would like to buy are simply out of reach financially.

For this reason, it may be sensible to book some time together with your respective collaborative lawyers and discuss what is or is not appropriate for the children to receive from one or both parents this year.

Starting a dialogue should help to ensure there are no duplicate gifts, but also avoid competition between parents as to who can buy the ‘best’ present.

3. Think about the kids

Ultimately children don’t really care what they get for Christmas and you can’t buy their affection. Accordingly, any negotiations around gifts should revolve around and be focussed upon, the children and their individual needs.