Relationship councillors are warning that couples could be heading for an unhappy Christmas after lockdown pressures have pushed people to the brink.
Due to lockdown, family law firms across Nottingham have seen many couples filing for divorce over the winter period.
Issues such as financial difficulties and seasonal depression have meant that in 2020, divorce enquires increased by 40 per cent during the coronavirus lockdown.
Relate Nottingham, a relationship and family advice organisation, has seen a consistent increase in families using their services in the winter months year after year.
Shanae McGarry, who works for Relate, said:
“We definitely saw an increase of couples requiring our services in lockdown because everyone was stuck at home when they would usually be at work.
“There were massive increases in domestic violence cases in marriages and also in many families, adult children moving back into the home during lockdown affecting family dynamics.”
Relate are a charity organisation who offer a free telephone counselling sessions for any low-income couples or families who may need them.
“We see so many couples who need couple’s therapy in the Christmas and early January period however many of them can’t afford it which is why we need more support from the council.”
Nottinghamshire County Council are due to help Relate by boosting their funding in the new year, just in time for the January 2022 rush of cases.
Financial worries due to over-spending, over indulging in alcohol and spending lengthy amounts of time with extended family are all things that pile on the pressure, says experts.
Emma Newbury, 41, is a single mum of three who finds January a really tough month.
She said: “The run up to Christmas is so stressful and busy but then it’s all over and January arrives and it is really depressing,
“There’s also the pressure of social media, you are always comparing what you are doing and buying with other families and with having a teenage daughter, she is seeing what others are getting at Christmas and it puts a huge amount of pressure on us as parents as you can feel like you aren’t doing as much for your own family.
Like Emma, many parents face financial pressures and this can cause issues in marriages around Christmas time that often come to a head in January.
Wilson Nesbitt Legal Advice say that alongside money troubles, there is a large amount of time spent together with extended family which can cause friction,
“More time is spent with in-laws, which for many spouses is not a pleasant experience, and soon the pressure on the relationship
starts to build up.
“There is in many households a higher consumption of alcohol which can result in things that were held back being vocalised also.”
However, there are a range of services available that families can use to try and get through the Christmas months and beyond.
Relate can help couples and families with many different issues from financial difficulties to sex therapy and encourage any couples considering counselling to use their confidential main telephone line, open from 9am until 9pm every weekday (0115 958 4278).
For more advice on family law/divorce: Contact Us – Stowe Family Law