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New Year, Same Me, New You

Eat healthier, go to the gym, and get divorced? 

Whilst it may not spring to your mind when considering the usual New Year’s resolutions, research has shown that early January tends to be when most people consider separating from their partner and contemplate the issue of divorce proceedings.

Each year, on the first Monday of January, after the schools have reopened, family lawyers tend to see a surge of enquiries from new clients who are considering separating or issuing divorce proceedings. This poses the question: Why do people start divorce proceedings on the first working day of the year? 

It may be that one spouse doesn’t want to cause any issues over the Christmas period, especially when children are involved. This may lead the unhappy spouse to delay taking any legal advice on divorce or steps to end the marriage until after the Christmas and New Year period and the new school year has begun.

Some people might have been considering separating for quite some time, maybe even months or years. They may have tried various ways to overcome the difficulties in the marriage but have then come to the realisation that their marriage has unfortunately broken down. 

Some may have realised this earlier in the year and waited for one more Christmas - as a final attempt to see if the marriage could be saved, or perhaps to avoid issues and animosity over the festive period. 

Slater and Gordon’s recent research showed that the average person spends 24 months and 12 days thinking about getting divorced before they go ahead with it. Further, six in every 10 couples who divorced scheduled the announcement of their split; ‘diarising’ the divorce for a future date. 

Christmas can put extra strain on a relationship. The financial pressures, time off from work and the sometimes unusual situation of being all together at home for long periods of time can add to the stress. If there have been arguments or difficulties in the relationship earlier in the year, the added stresses of Christmas can be the final straw for some couples. 

Others view the start of a New Year as a time to reassess their lives - scrutinising relationships more so than at any other time, and this may lead them to conclude that the New Year means the end of their marriage and the start of a new era. 

Whatever your circumstances, it is important to get the right advice as early as possible. That way, the separation, financial matters and arrangements that need to be made in relation to the children can all be dealt with as amicably as possible. 

The UK contact centre at Slater and Gordon Lawyers is open 24/7. You can call us about your divorce at any time on freephone 0800 916 9055 or you can contact us online and we will call you back at a time that suits you. 

Niamh McCarthy is a family law solicitor at Slater and Gordon in London.

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