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Post-Christmas Surge in Divorces – Is it a Myth?

Our People - Kathleen Bennet
10 January, 2024

The Christmas season exudes warmth, gathering loved ones in a tapestry of traditions and joyous moments. Yet, behind this veneer of holiday cheer, a lesser-known reality surfaces within family law circles – a surge in divorce enquiries and filings post-Christmas. Families, yearning to salvage one last Christmas together, often find themselves grappling with delayed decisions and deferred conversations.

The term “Divorce Day” has gained traction, labelling the first Monday in January as a peak in divorce applications. But does this title accurately capture the surge in New Year divorce filings or merely serve as a journalistic trope?

Is Divorce Day a Myth?

While it’s true that a surge in divorce petitions follows the holiday season, typically attributed to the stresses associated with festivities, financial strains, and the desire to navigate Christmas before embarking on divorce proceedings, statistical evidence unveils a more nuanced picture.

March 2021, for instance, witnessed a 21% increase in divorce applications compared to January 2021. Furthermore, spikes in divorce filings cluster around specific times, notably school terms, making months like March, June, and September equally active periods.

Why does the post-Christmas surge in divorce enquiries occur?

Law firms are traditionally closed between Christmas and New Year, leading to an expected avalanche of enquiries upon their return. The term “Divorce Day” appears less significant when compared to the anticipated bustling activity at the start of a fresh calendar year. January’s surge in enquiries finds its roots in the New Year’s fresh perspectives and families’ reluctance to disrupt the festive season. Shielding loved ones from potential disruptions fosters this surge in consultations, as families strive to protect one last Christmas together.

The holiday season can, however, cause a strain in relationships on various fronts. Spending time with unfamiliar family members, navigating in-law dynamics, and grappling with excessive spending on gifts can all contribute to heightened tensions.

Moreover, the festive season’s abundance of alcohol can exacerbate existing relationship issues, leading to more frequent and intense conflicts between partners. Reports suggest a surge in domestic abuse incidents in late December and early January, a trend witnessed by divorce solicitors with a notable increase in complaints during this period.

Despite the conflict that can arise during the Christmas period, which can result in couples seeking a divorce, the introduction of no-fault divorce in April 2022 allows couples to obtain a divorce without the need to prove fault or wrongdoing by either party. This can make the process of obtaining a divorce less contentious and may reduce the likelihood of conflict during the divorce process itself.

Seeking support and guidance in navigating divorce proceedings

For those contemplating divorce after Christmas, understanding the emotional, logistical, and legal aspects is crucial. Seeking support from legal professionals, therapists, and support groups can provide invaluable guidance during this challenging time.

By acknowledging this post-Christmas surge in divorce enquiries, family law firms can offer tailored support, guidance, and resources to individuals embarking on this life-altering journey. From addressing child arrangement concerns to financial planning, legal experts play a vital role in helping individuals navigate the complexities of divorce.

Furthermore, implying that couples make an impulsive decision to get divorced on “Divorce Day” overlooks the reality that divorce decisions evolve over months or even years. Instead, the rate of divorce applications appears influenced by seasonal trends and personal factors unique to each couple.

In conclusion, the concept of “Divorce Day” seems more of a journalistic anecdote than reality. Regardless of the time of year, if you are considering a divorce or needing family law advice, please don’t hesitate to contact our specialist Divorce Lawyers or call us on 020 8492 2290.

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