2016 is almost a distant memory and most, if not all of us, have wondered where the year has gone.

At this time of year, it can be quite busy for family law practitioners who are attempting to help parties finalise matters on a final basis or finalise interim arrangements for the Christmas, New Year and beginning of the new school term periods.

It is unfortunate to say it but over my many years of practice I have noticed the increase in my workload during November and December of one year and mid January to the beginning of February of a new year.

Although the festive season is usually referred to as the season of goodwill and hope, anecdotally it can be anything but.  As families gather for festive celebrations, this can lead to frayed tempers, strained relationships and when things are tough (emotionally or financially) this may lead to disputes.

On a positive note, sometimes people decide to make life changing decisions at the end or beginning of a year so that they can start the new year afresh.  With those things in mind, it is timely for me to share some do’s and don’ts to consider at this time of the year:

  1. Do try and make the most of the festive season with your family and loved ones;
  2. Do try and remember that the festive season can be stressful for more than one reason.  Towards the end of the year we all get grouchy but it’s important to ensure that that doesn’t affect our relationship with our loved ones;
  3. Do try to have some time to reflect of the past year and talk to your family about both the good things that may have happened in the last year but also the negative things that you would like to make sure will not be repeated;
  4. Do not leave planning your parenting arrangements until the last minute.  This can create issues where people may have already made plans but these can be thrown out or upset by leaving something until the last minute;
  5. Don’t let conflict escalate out of hand if it occurs.  The last thing you want to do is have Christmas for the kids ruined by there being conflict in the family;
  6. Don’t make New Year’s resolutions without properly thinking them through or without speaking to a helping professional or trusted adviser who can act as you sounding board.

From all of us at Best Wilson Buckley Family Law, we extend to you the compliments of the season and wish you a happy and prosperous 2017.