Divorce Day and the continuing myth about Christmas separations

By Lenore Rice

The first working Monday of the New Year has rather unfortunately been dubbed Divorce Day in recent years, as it is a day that divorce solicitors see an unusually large increase in new enquiries.

That being the case, family law solicitors will be expecting the phones to be ringing on 8th January, with new clients wanting to take the first steps in respect of a divorce or separation. That new divorce enquiries do spike on the first working Monday of the year is undeniable, but the reasons cited for this are often confused or over-simplified.

The most common myth that appears in the media each year is about the role of the Christmas holidays in inspiring people to take legal advice to start a divorce or separation. Articles will often put the decision to separate down to the pressures of Christmas - spending so much time with your partner, their family, and all the financial and other stress around planning and executing all the Christmas festivities. The distinction that needs to be made here is that, yes, Christmas can be a stressful time, but it will largely only highlight existing problems in a relationship. Couples who are already struggling in their relationship together will find such an intense period of time as Christmas particularly difficult, but Christmas in itself does not often cause the ruin of perfectly stable relationships.

Similarly, different articles will describe some event over Christmas as being the final straw that prompts someone to take advice from a divorce solicitor. While that might be the case for some people, it is probably more accurate to look at Christmas as a milestone in the year that people prefer to allow pass before following through with a decision to separate that they might have taken some months previously.

Many people who approach one of our divorce solicitors in January will explain that they had taken the decision to separate some months ago, but preferred to get Christmas out of the way first. The Christmas holidays involve lots of family get togethers for many people and so it is a difficult time to be newly separated. Similarly, if there are children involved, many of our clients will have taken the view that they prefer to avoid a tricky Christmas with custody and contact issues so quickly into a new separation.

As such, many people who have decided that they want to separate from their partner in the latter half of the year will resolve to wait until the Christmas and New Year period is over. That gives them most of the year to move down the path of separation before the next Christmas holiday comes around again.

If you require legal advice from a divorce solicitor in Northern Ireland contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by clicking here.