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Why Divorce Peaks at The Start of The Year

By Associate, Family Law

Every year on the first working day back after the Christmas break, when schools have reopened, we see a surge of divorce inquiries.

During this period - named by some in the legal industry as “Divorce Day” or “D-Day” due to the seasonal spike in calls - it is not uncommon for us to receive between two to three times the average number of inquiries about divorce and separation and as a consequence children matters.

But what is the reason behind an increase in divorce inquiries in the new year?

Why Divorce Peaks at The Start of The Year


  1. Christmas Pressure - There are different factors including the expectations of an ‘idyllic Christmas period’ which add pressure to relationships at Christmas in addition to financial stress.

    Often families put so much pressure on themselves to be happy over the festive period. An unrealistic expectation for a ‘perfect Christmas’ can put unhealthy pressure on relationships.

    Cabin fever can creep in with all the extra time spent together, not just with your other half but also with the in-laws or extended family. being all together at home for long periods of time can add to the stress, especially if there is little or no space or time to be alone or together as a couple.

    When we commissioned research into divorce we found that more than half of couples we surveyed said they anticipated that arguments from earlier in the year would create tension and get repeated over Christmas.



  2. Not to Ruin Christmas For The Kids – Couples might decide to stay together at Christmas for the sake of their children. Often to make it easier for their families, couples will plan when to announce their divorce.

    Spouses will put off announcing their divorce so as not to ruin celebrations for their child. Six in 10 couples schedule the announcement of their divorce together with four per cent admitting to waiting until after Christmas or a child’s birthday.

    Unfortunately, in some cases, this can create a household full of tension and unhappiness on what is supposed to be a happy time. This often has a knock on effect on the children who are far more perceptive than parents often believe.



  3. New Year, New Start - The start of a New Year is used by many people to assess their lives. Some will find themselves longing for a fresh start once their children go back to school and people go back to work.

    Relationships are scrutinised more in January than any other time which is why many unsatisfied husbands and wives conclude that their marriage should come to an end shortly after New Year’s Eve.

Kaleel Anwar is a family lawyer with expertise in divorce and financial settlements.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers is one of the UK's largest and well known law firms with offices across England and Wales. For expert divorce advice or to speak with a divorce lawyer call us at any time on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you.

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