Why is 6th January 2020 referred to as Divorce Day?

By Lenore Rice

The first Monday of January has for some years now been referred to widely in the media as Divorce Day because family law solicitors and mediators throughout Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK experience a significant increase in queries about divorce and separation.

Many media articles try to explain the increase in enquiries about divorce as a result of pressures and stress around Christmas - couples spending more time together or with in-laws; the financial stress of presents and all the other expense around the holiday period. However, our experience is that the people who contact our divorce solicitors in January are not acting in a knee-jerk response to a tough Christmas, but rather as a result of a carefully considered decision that follows months of planning and working to improve a relationship that has experienced difficulties.

The decision to separate is not taken lightly, and to suggest that the period between Christmas Day and the first Monday of January is enough for someone to consider divorce for the first time is simply absurd. If anything, rather than causing divorce, the Christmas holidays often postpone the decision.

The end of year holidays involve a lot of family time, so it is often the case that someone who has come to the conclusion that their relationship or marriage is over in the months leading up to Christmas will choose to postpone taking any steps until the New Year. With the first Monday in January being the first day that family law solicitors are back in the office it is therefore understandable that enquiries about divorce would increase on that day and the first few weeks of January.

For those who are considering divorce and want to make contact with a family law solicitor to review their options and the process involved, here are a few tips to consider in advance:

  • Remember that it is possible to have an amicable separation. Where possible, discuss as much with your spouse in advance of speaking to solicitors about how you envisage the split would work. That can include the broad details on how assets would be divided - who would keep the family home, the car etc. If there are children involved you should start to discuss who would be the resident parent and how contact would work for the other parent.

  • Start to build up the relevant paper work in advance, in particular anything that relates to the finances of the relationship - income, savings and assets, and all outgoing costs, debts and other financial obligations.

  • Remember that divorce is not a contest where someone wins and someone loses. Both spouses should have the aim of starting their new life on the best footing possible, though conscious that it will involve compromise in order to make that possible.

  • Research the divorce solicitor that you intend to take advice from and instruct to act on your behalf. Some family law solicitors, like ourselves, are trained in the collaborative law process, which is an approach that aims to stay out of court and agree everything around a table with both spouses and their respective solicitors.

If you're keen to receive information and advice about divorce contact one of our family law specialists today by calling 0800 840 1363 or submit a contact form online and they will contact you at a time of your convenience.