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Legal and emotional advice the priority following 'Divorce Day'

Separating spouses should get legal and emotional advice if they've decided to take part in “Divorce Day,” Markham family law lawyer Andrew Feldstein tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Feldstein, principal of the Feldstein Family Law Group, says that’s the name lawyers worldwide give to the first working Monday of January, typically one of their busiest times of the year.

“As a family law lawyer, you find that your work slows down in December, but then there is a significant spike at the beginning of January," he explains.

Feldstein says the phenomenon is attributable in part to people’s desire for a fresh start in the new year, combined with a reluctance to cast a shadow over the holiday period by acting sooner.

“That’s just the way it tends to work out. People are prepared to give it one last shot during the holidays,” he says. “You also get a bit more time to think things through when you’re on holiday, and if you’re not happy in a marriage, then separation is an option.” 

Once a person has decided on a divorce, Feldstein says one of their first visits should be to a lawyer.

“It’s a good idea to get an idea of the lay of the land,” he says.

Feldstein also recommends that clients have a discussion with their spouse about the decision and the future of their relationship, especially if there are children involved, and assuming there are no concerns for personal safety.  

“It’s much better to have the news come from your spouse than to have the message delivered via a lawyer’s letter,” he says. “Unlike the end of a business relationship, where you might never again have anything to do with a former partner, if you have children, then you’re going to be co-parenting for the rest of your lives.

“The focus should be on communicating in such a way that fosters that ongoing relationship,” Feldstein adds.

Still, he admits those skills take some developing, and says some individuals may need professional assistance.

“It may be helpful, in addition to seeing a divorce lawyer, to speak to a counsellor who can advise you on how to communicate with a former spouse,” Feldstein says.

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