Is January ‘Divorce Month’?

January has the highest rate of divorce than any other month in the UK. The Monday of the first working week after New Year is when the children go back to school and work begins again; it is often nicknamed ‘divorce day’ or ‘D-day’, due to the high amount of divorces filed during it.

Waiting until Christmas is over

A survey conducted by Irwin Mitchell’s family and divorce lawyers revealed that 1 in 5 couples had considered staying together for Christmas before filing for a divorce in January. Couples often aim to have one last Christmas and New Year celebration together as a family before separating. They avoid doing it before so as not to upset their family members or children. This is particularly evident if the couple have children; the research showed that 26 per cent of couples will remain together for the benefit of their children, and one in four parents admitted that they were with their partner for the sake of their children.

Irwin Mitchell reported that 27 per cent of parents said that they preferred to conceal their issues rather than discuss them, and that they would attempt to hide any problems in their marriage during the Christmas holidays.

Relationships are affected by the Christmas period

Various stressors in the lead up to Christmas and during the holidays can put strain on a relationship over Christmas. Spending time with extended family, spending more time than usual with each other, and the preparation and organisation of Christmas, may exacerbate or highlight existing problems.

Significantly, families and couples may experience financial strains over Christmas, which can cause or worsen tensions. The financial effects may become even more apparent in January, when bills are received and the effects of spending are realised. 40 per cent of parents polled reported that financial worries had put a strain on their relationships during the Christmas holidays.

The effect of the New Year

The start of a New Year is the time when many people reflect on the past year and think about how things will be in the future; it is a period when you assess your life and vow to make positive changes. Many will see it as the right time to end an unhappy relationship and make a new start.

Moving forward

Although stressful, bringing a relationship to an end can be achieved in a positive and constructive way if it is handled sensitively. Elizabeth Gallagher, head of the Family team at Macks, is a collaborative lawyer and a passionate believer in resolving the issues of a relationship breakdown outside the court forum. “There are lots of options available to resolve all issues when a relationship ends, including mediation and collaborative law. At Macks we will discuss these options with clients, and enable whichever route is taken to be tailored to that particular family’s needs, in order to ensure the most suitable outcome.”


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