I was waiting for it and was not disappointed. An article on so called “Divorce Day” appeared in the The Independent on Saturday telling its readers that legal firms were “bracing themselves” for a typical surge in enquiries from couples wanting to divorce. This type of article routinely surfaces at the beginning of January and is a predictable as the appearance of the inevitable brand new revolutionary diets and the adverts for exotic holidays in the sun. Two years ago I blogged about the Divorce Season myth and not much has changed since then. As with most family lawyers I receive slightly more enquiries in the first few weeks of January than at other times of the year, but after all if you have decided that your marriage is over in November or December you are hardly likely to announce it over the Christmas turkey or as you sing Auld Lang’s Syne.
The article in The Independent refers to a poll conducted by Irwin Mitchell in which over 2000 spouses were polled and apparently one in five were considering separating from their partners after staying together over the festive period. I am surprised that the numbers are as low as that. Given the family tensions that Christmas and the holiday break can bring its amazing that the numbers were not even higher. After all, those polled were only asked if they were “considering” separation and not if they were going to do anything about it. I would be interested to know how many couples consider separating at other times of the year. In that way we would know if there really is the apparent upsurge over Christmas that the media would like us to believe.
The breakdown of a marriage is a serious and sometimes tragic event for the families and children concerned. Its hard to think that life changing decisions like this are triggered by a difficult festive period although I can understand that too much close proximity to family might be the final straw. Whatever the reasons and timing any family or individuals experiencing divorce will go through considerable amounts of pain that our current legal system does very little to alleviate. Parties still have to bring divorce proceedings that are usually fault based and at a time when we should be attempting to cool tempers and alleviate tensions our system encourages the opposite. All those concerned with progressive and non confrontational family law should back Resolution’s campaign for “No Fault Divorce”. A good New Year resolution indeed and a pun is very much intended. Happy 2017!