Army fast track redundancies – double blow for families

By Fiona Kendall, Partner

The news this week that 8,000 soldiers – many serving in Afghanistan – will be issued with redundancy notices just days after Christmas will put additional emotional and financial strain on many army families.

The festive season is traditionally a time when relationships are tested with the first working day of January labelled ‘D’ Day due to the increase in divorce enquiries after the holidays.

We have mentioned in a previous blog that military marriages are more resilient to change. However, the untimely nature of the latest redundancies could be the final blow for relationships that are already fragile.

So how can military families avoid the latest lay-offs pushing couples towards divorce?

  • Sit down together to discuss the practicalities of the impending redundancy. If you are in army accommodation, where will you live? You may have to consider moving to a new area – what are the implications for children’s schooling or a partner’s job? A partner who previously stayed at home may have to become the main bread-winner now – how will you cope as a couple with that role change?
  • Arguments about money are often a trigger for a breakdown in a relationship so be honest about finances – particularly issues relating to personal debt – and seek expert help if necessary. Make financial decisions together about how you will use redundancy payments and aim to agree on a budget for what you will spend over Christmas on food, entertainment and presents.
  • Couples used to spending months apart may find it hard to adjust to being together full time. Resentment can build up whether you are the partner left at home, looking after the family on a day to day basis, or the one who returns home after a tour to find your family coping well without you. If you have time together as a family before the start of redundancy then do some simple and inexpensive activities such as walks and games. Sit down together for your meals when you can.
  • The emotional impact of redundancy can affect the whole family. The person who has lost their job may experience a grief akin to bereavement. For soldiers there will be the added concern about how they will fit into a life in ‘Civvy Street’. They will need time to talk, to be listened to and may even need professional help if they seem unable to cope.

At Jones Myers we are experienced in offering help and support to military families. You can speak to one of our team on 0113 246 0055 or drop us an e-mail. If you would like to share your thoughts on this topic, please leave a comment below or tweet us on @helpwithdivorce.

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