Surviving a Separation during the Silly Season

The Christmas holiday season can be an emotionally challenging time for many. While this time of year is often associated with family gatherings and togetherness, many face financial and social pressures associated with living up to those expectations.

It is therefore no surprise that December is the most common month for relationships to break-down. You may find yourself in a situation where you separate from your spouse or partner in this time.

If you do, there are strategies available to help you survive a separation during the silly season. Here are my top tips, as a Family Lawyer, for navigating this situation should you find yourself in it:

Tips for surviving a separation during the holidays

 1.  Seek out a Family Lawyer

Before you make any big decisions, make an appointment with a Family Lawyer. They can provide guidance on your specific situation, explain your rights and responsibilities, and help you understand the legal implications of the separation. You may qualify for Legal Aid funding, meaning that you may not need to cover the costs of getting a Lawyer. An added difficulty is that most law firms close down briefly over the Christmas period. If you are unable to secure an appointment with a Family Lawyer, do not fret. The below tips will protect you until you receive legal advice.

2.  Safety

The priority is your safety and that of any children you may have in your care. If you have experienced family violence, you need to take steps to protect your safety. Family violence is not just physical, it can also include sexual or psychological abuse such as verbal attacks, put-downs and harassment. If you have experienced violence, contact the Police in the first instance. They may be able to issue a Police Safety Order, depending on your circumstances. In conjunction with that, the following organisations are available to assist you:

·         Women’s Refuge (0800 733 843)

·         Shine (0508 744 633)

3.  Space

Give yourself some space. If you have experienced violence, you should talk with Police about obtaining a Police Safety Order so that you can remain in the family home while your ex will be required to reside elsewhere temporarily. If safety is not a concern, seek out another area of your home where you have peace and distance away from your ex. You could also stay at the home of a close friend or family member.

4.  Seek Support: 

Lean on friends and family for emotional support. Share your feelings and thoughts with trusted individuals who can provide a listening ear and offer comfort. If you have children, take steps to prioritize their well-being during the holidays.

5.  Self-care

Prioritise self-care during this time. Take care of your physical and mental health by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and practicing relaxation techniques like mindfulness or meditation. Engaging in physical activities can help alleviate stress and boost your mood. Consider going for walks, hikes, or participating in exercise classes during the holidays.

6.  Stay-off social media

Be mindful of the content you consume on social media during the holiday season. Seeing posts of seemingly happy families or couples can be triggering. Consider limiting your time on social media or unfollowing or muting accounts that make you feel worse. Refrain from making any posts or leaving comments about your separation.


Remember that healing takes time, and it's okay to have moments of sadness or nostalgia during the holidays. Be patient with yourself and focus on self-care and self-compassion.

Here at Govett Quilliam, our experienced and empathetic Family Team are ready and available to assist you through the challenging time of a relationship break-down.