THE BLOG

Why So Many of Us Split Up in the New Year

04/01/2015 23:06 GMT | Updated 04/03/2015 10:59 GMT

New research from the relationships charity that I work for OnePlusOne has found that a quarter of all parents who live with their partner and children have secretly considered separating or divorcing their partner.

Relationships go through ups and downs, and secretly considering a divorce or separation doesn't necessarily mean that a relationship will end - most relationships go through difficulties at times and many couples who want to work things out can, especially if they seek help at an early stage.

However, each year in the UK, around 100,000 children under 16 experience divorce, and the numbers of children who are affected by relationship breakdown are far greater when you take into account that many parents cohabit rather than marry.

January is the most popular time of year to enquire about divorce proceedings, and the first back at work after the Christmas and New Year break has been dubbed 'divorce day' by some legal professionals.

When there are underlying issues in a couple's relationship, the longed for break from work can suddenly feel like being under house arrest. Issues become magnified and too much booze doesn't help, loosening tongues and leading to rows.

Add into the mix interfering relatives, fractious children and the realisation that a big credit card bill will be arriving in January and it's no wonder that so many couples fall out during the festive season. Fall outs can be a signal that these underlying issues need attention.

Some couples will have struggled throughout the year with an unhappy relationship and the question for them moves from is it good enough to stay to is it bad enough to leave? The New Year crystallises that decision.

The number one consideration for most parents is what's best for their children.

All the evidence shows that separated parents who are able to focus on their children's needs and to communicate effectively about money and the arrangements for the children early on, have the best chance of preventing their children becoming stuck in the middle of their disputes.

But when emotions are running high this isn't easy, and many people need support to help them communicate with their ex and make plans which they can keep to.

However the latest government figures show that more than half of parents find it hard to access the support they need.

Help is at hand though from OnePlusOne's Parent Connection online service for separated parents. It's a good starting point for any parent going through the difficult process of separation - its free, available 24/7 and offers reliable information and support. The courses and parenting plan provided have helped thousands of people who are trying to work out a way of parenting after parting that minimises the negative impact of a separation or divorce on their children. And because splitting up is hard on parents too, the service hosts two online forums where separated parents can discuss their problems and ask questions, both of these are moderated by trained counsellors and mediators.

For further information about OnePlusOne and the help it provides to separating parents and couples with relationship difficulties visit www.oneplusone.org.uk/what-we-do