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Family Lawyers Dub January the 8th ‘Divorce Day’ Due to Post-Christmas Spike in Couples Initiating Divorce Proceedings

Family Lawyers Dub January the 8th ‘Divorce Day’ Due to Post-Christmas Spike in Couples Initiating Divorce Proceedings

Trying to create the ‘perfect’ Christmas for a family can be extremely stressful – and this stress can all too easily reveal holes within a relationship. As a result, January sees a spike in couples seeking to end their marriages and January the 8th – dubbed by family lawyers as ‘Divorce Day’ - appears to be the most popular day to start relevant legal proceedings. 

Christmas, the New Year and Relationships

For most people, the beginning of a new year is an opportunity to start something new. New beginnings can, however, mean very different things: while some will simply try out a new diet or exercise regime, others are looking for somewhat less simple new beginnings.

As the strain of trying to make Christmas ‘chocolate-box’ perfect takes its toll on couples who may already be unhappy, issues within long-term relationships or marriages can come to a head – resulting in a peak in calls to Relate, one of the largest relationship charities in the UK, during January.

According to Chris Sherwood, Relate’s chief executive, many calls received by the charity during this month are made by couples who have reached crisis point after existing tensions within their relationship have reached a peak over the festive period.

Stating that approximately 20 per cent of couples in the UK have ‘distressed relationships’, he went on to say that Relate urges anyone finding it difficult to get on with their spouse/partner to ask for support as quickly and early as possible.

Online ‘Divorce’ Searches

What’s more, data analysed by Amicable divorce support service suggests that over 40,500 individuals will conduct an online search concerning divorce in January. This trend is further highlighted by data provided by a Google Trends report, which showed January 2012 and January 2016 as the last decade’s most popular months for searches relating to divorce.

Showing similar peaks for May and August, this report interestingly also revealed that divorce searches consistently hit a low during December.

Divorce Day Spike

Amicable’s co-founder, Kate Daly, explained that this January surge in couples seeking to put an end to marriages is partly due to the post-Christmas ‘lull’ prompting people to reflect on their relationships.

Following the Christmas hype, financial pressures, lots of time (perhaps unhappily) spent together, unfulfilled expectations and the desire to make significant changes cause dissatisfaction to peak in January.

While relationships don’t simply break down ‘suddenly’ over Christmas, January does offer a first chance to properly reflect on problems that may have been ‘brewing’ and/or were ‘shelved’ for months. These reflections sadly tend to culminate in spouses submitting divorce petitions to courts on ‘Divorce Day’, the first Monday or Tuesday back to work after the Christmas holiday.

The Cost of Divorce

According to a report in The Times, Amicable’s figures also reveal that the current cost of divorce (£1,820 per adult) to taxpayers is rising. This data was based on ONS (Office for National Statistics) statistics revealing a 5.8 per cent increase in opposite sex couples’ divorces in 2016 (England & Wales).

The sad truth is that today, 42 per cent of married couples will get divorced, with marriages now lasting an average of just 12 years.

Working with the UK’s Ministry of Justice, Kate Daly further added that:

  • The divorce system currently in practice in England & Wales not only makes divorce processes unnecessarily hostile but also significantly increases their cost.
  • A change in divorce law enabling couples to end their marriage without having to apportion blame is long overdue.
  • Bringing the system into line with systems in other Western countries would make it more contemporary and less expensive, while allowing couples to divorce in a much more amicable fashion, which is especially beneficial if children are involved in the process.

Learn more.

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