Marry in Haste Repent at Leisure-Especially in January

Xmas is generally recognised as a time when relationships can experience difficulties, leading to increases in the number of people seeking advice in January on getting a divorce.  While some couples manage to resolve their differences without outside help many turn to Relate which supports single people with relationship issues as well as cohabiting couples, same sex couples, children and young people and families.

You can contact Relate by calling 0300 100 1234.  If you have access to the Internet you can find local contact details on

If having explored all the alternatives you and/or your partner still want to end a relationship there are a number of ways you can do so.  This will depend on:

-the type of relationship you have (are you married, civil partners or cohabiting)

-whether there has been violence and there is a need for emergency action, for example, a court order for an injunction,

-whether a short-term solution is required immediately,

-whether either you or your partner needs to move out temporarily to think about what to do,

– whether there is agreement on the care of any children involved,

– your financial arrangements,

– where either partner will live after the relationship ends and whether it is necessary to obtain the help of the courts,

– how family and friends will react if you separate and whether they will provide either party with any support,

– whether there are any specific religious or cultural considerations.

Family mediators are available to couples (including same sex couples) to help resolve disputes and reach agreements on specific issues arising from the breakdown of the relationship. Family mediation may prove particularly useful with matters involving children, money and the family home.  Mediation offers a number of advantages including:

  •  it gives couples a greater say in what happens,
  • it is less stressful and involves less conflict than going to court,
  • it improves communication between couples,
  • it is quicker and cheaper than court action,
  • it places the needs of any children above the feelings of the parties

In addition family mediators often offer further services like counselling for children affected by the break up of the relationship.  However, they cannot give legal advice. This can only be obtained from a solicitor who can also make a mediation agreement legally binding.

Unless one of the parties qualifies for legal aid one or both of them will have to pay the mediator’s costs.  Some mediation services have a sliding scale of charges related to income. Some do not charge for the first part of the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting where all the paperwork is sorted out. Some mediators will also have fixed price packages that include legal help. It is best to ask about the options and shop around.

To find out more about family mediation and legal aid or to get information and advice on Debt, Benefits, Consumer Issues, Relationships, Housing, Law and Rights, Education, Discrimination, Tax and Healthcare you can contact your local Citizens Advice by:

  • calling 0344 848 7969 to speak to an assessor or make an appointment to talk to an adviser face-to face. (calls to this service cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers included as part of a mobile allowance or a landline call package.
  • visiting to access our comprehensive range of information and advice,
  • or follow us on





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