A FESTIVE fight hotline has been set up to help couples seeking considering a divorce this holiday season.
Family law firm Gibson Kerr will be offering a “special hotline” to people feeling the stress on their relationships over Christmas and New Year.
Solicitors will be on stand-by to receive urgent phone calls from distressed couples – even on Christmas day.
A survey carried out last year revealed that one in five married couples considered separating from their partners over the festive period.
Fiona Rasmusen, partner at the firm, has said the hotline could help prevent marriages or relationships from “totally deteriorating”.
Fiona said: “Unfortunately, more divorces are triggered over the festive period than at any other time of the year.
“Sadly rather than being a time of happiness, many people find the stress and demands of the Christmas and New Year holidays puts their relationships under enormous strain and this often leads them to breaking point.
“As many legal firms are on a shut down over the holidays, these people don’t have the usual access to the kind of professional advice they need.
“By the time their solicitor opens for business again in January, their relationship may have deteriorated further.”
Conflicts arising from money or even an office party mistake are often the cause for marital problems, according to Fiona.
She continued: “Issues such as money or family conflicts, or perhaps a misdemeanor at the office party, are often the main causes for marital disputes at this time of year.
“Emotions can run high which in turn sees people beginning to consider separation or divorce proceedings.
“Not being able to speak to a lawyer for several days can be very difficult for all parties concerned, so the hotline allows people to make contact with us- even if this is Christmas Day.”
Desperate couples phoning the helpline will receive free advice from a family law solicitor who will offer “constructive help” in “difficult situations”.
Fiona said: “We try to offer the kind of constructive help that can perhaps diffuse a difficult situation, rather than letting partners emotions run high or allowing resentment to fester over the holidays.”
“Of course if it transpires that divorce is the only option, then we can provide appropriate legal advice and support about how to start this process.”