The 5 Reasons why Relationships Break Down at Christmas

The 5 Reasons why Relationships Break Down at Christmas

In this video, Accredited Family Law Specialist, Stephen Page discusses the common reasons why relationships can fracture over the Christmas period.


G’day, Stephen Page from Page Provan Family and Fertility Lawyers. What I’m talking about today are the five things that go wrong at Christmas when relationships break down and what to do about it?

One of the things that we see as family lawyers is what happens in January. Because typically in January, we get the call or the email from someone who says, Guess what? I broke up over Christmas, doom and gloom, disaster.

I think one of the standout cases I had, which regrettably got reported as number one, number two, number three, right up to number ten, that had so many judgments, was exactly a case like that where I asked for the husband and the wife decided that she was going to take $600,000 out of the bank account without telling my client, and real disaster.

But that case is really an exception. The usual type of cases, they’ve got five things with them that go wrong over Christmas. The first is the obvious, it’s hot. When it’s hot, people argue. When it’s cold, they don’t tend to argue as much.

So if you’re hot and irritable, chances are your relationship is going to break down, or at least chances make it worse if you’re on the edge anyway. The second is alcohol. We all know people drink too much at Christmas, and when they do, inhibitions are released, and as a result of which there’s a higher chance of fighting.

The third one is debt. Credit card debt is a real problem at Christmas. Try and keep it in check because when those bills come in, that’s often when the relationship ends, when all the spending is there, there’s no means to pay it all. The relationship is under great strain. The fourth one is the other obvious that we all have to deal with every Christmas, the relatives.

Now, it might be the mother in law you don’t like, or the crazy uncle. But these are the members of family who turn up at Christmas, you argue about whether or not they should be there, or whether you’re going to see them, and then they’ll tell you about what they think, whether you want to hear it or not.

Sadly, there’s probably not much you can do about them unless it is to avoid them or make a decision about whether or not to have them at Christmas, and the final one that’s all connected with all of these is, sadly, again, family violence.

Family violence is all too prevalent at Christmas and these features arguing about money, arguing about relatives, the heat, and alcohol, mix them all together and you’ve got a perfect equation for family violence occurring. What to do about it? Well, obviously, if you need to get out, get out.

If you need to get help from police, phone triple 0, and if you’re a woman seeking help, you can phone in Queensland, you can phone the domestic violence hotline, 1800 811 811, that’s DB Connect. They can give you some immediate help and refer you through to agencies, but the other one is the obvious.

The sooner you get legal advice over Christmas, when things have gone wrong, the better, and it doesn’t mean you’re heading off to court. Most family lawyers don’t want you to go to court. Our duty is to try and help you settle and help you fix your problems. We’ll often refer you off to a good counsellor.

But getting that advice at the beginning is critical. Leaving it too late may make matters worse. Take care over Christmas. I hope you aren’t visited by all these problems, these problems are all too common. But if they happen to be upon you, get legal advice as soon as you can.

Thank you.

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Family Law Section Law Council of Australia Award
Member of Queensland law society
Family law Practitioners Association
International Academy of Family Lawyers - IAFL
Mediator Standards Board