Divorce Day as it has come to be known, comes after the Christmas festivities end and the New Year begins – it is when divorce lawyers always see a surge in enquiries. This year it falls on Monday, January 6, as it always falls on the first working Monday of the New Year.
Managing partner of Manchester-based McAlister Family Law, Amanda McAlister, explains why.
“In late December 2019 the number of enquiries we received more than doubled. In past years on Christmas Day we have even received enquiries via our website about initiating divorce proceedings. We have already received multiple appointment requests about filing for divorce in the past few days, and in the first working week of January it will peak, then later in the month it tends to go back to normal.
“Despite the common misconception that divorce lawyers have created Divorce Day for publicity reasons, it is actually genuine. Relationships that are already strained, for whatever reasons, finally crack when couples are forced to spend extended time together. But many couples wait until after the festive season has finished, to avoid spoiling the holidays for their children, their extended families, or even for their soon-to-be-ex spouse over the holiday period,” she says.
“Sometimes it is financial difficulties that bring everything to a head at this time of year, sometimes it’s due to deeper, more complex causes. It’s not always the most wonderful time of the year for everyone, and rows over what kind of presents people have received is often a trigger. I once had a wife file for divorce because her husband bought her a set of pans for her Christmas gift!
“But there is something about the New Year and the concept of resolutions to live life differently that motivates people to decide to end their marriage or civil partnership and begin a new life.”
Official statistics support this: in January 2017 Relate reported receiving a 24 per cent increase in calls to their helpline compared with the average month, and according to data analysed by divorce support service Amicable, more than 40,500 people will search “divorce” online in January.
Amanda adds: “Of course, not everyone goes through with it. Sometimes people enquire just because they’ve had a huge falling out, but overall, most file for divorce.
“In truth, if a relationship is already under pressure, often it is the New Year that is the catalyst to end it.”