Why The First Working Monday In January Is Dubbed 'Divorce Day'

04/01/2016 10:26 | Updated 04 January 2016
  • Rachel Moss Lifestyle Writer at The Huffington Post UK

While most of us pack up our Christmas decorations, many Brits will also be calling time on their marriages.

The first Monday back at work after the holiday season has long been dubbed "Divorce Day" - the day of the year where people make the most enquires about divorce.

Andrew Newbury, head of family law at legal firm Slater & Gordon, told The Independent lawyers expect an influx of calls on 4 January.

"We’ve seen the number of inquiries double around this time and then in late January it tails off. Over the last two or three years I’ve noticed that people even enquire a little bit earlier between Christmas and New Year," he said.

He added that there can be a significant gap between people enquiring about divorce and actually initiating proceedings.

"People I have seen previously, it is like it is becoming a New Year’s resolution – and they are generally the ones more likely to go ahead with the full divorce proceedings," he said.

divorce

Divorce lawyer Randall M. Kessler said the rise in people considering divorce this time of year is linked with the concept of "new year new you."

"Many people want to start from scratch when the new year arrives," he wrote in a HuffPost Divorce blog.

"Many do not want to be 'in the same place', mentally or physically for the next holiday season, so they 'start', they file or they consult with a divorce lawyer in early January."

Stann Givens, founder of law firm Givens Givens Sparks, agreed that the time of year can have a big impact on a marriage.

"People take time during the holidays to pause and reflect. They take more days off work around the holidays and they exchange thoughts with friends. This can lead to that lifestyle analysis," he blogged.

"Holidays tend to make us think of hearth and home and warm feelings, which we may not be experiencing in our own current domestic situation and may want a chance to rekindle. If the relationship has gone dark, you may be looking to light the spark somewhere else."

Givens also argued that financial strain can have an impact on whether a couple consider divorce, saying his phone "rang off the hook" in January 2008 at the beginning of the recession.

A recent survey by Censuswide supports his theory.

The research polled a total of 1,000 divorced and married people and found that one in six said that financial difficulties such as unemployment had, or would have, an impact on when they divorced.

In comparison, only one in eight stated that the timing of divorce was, or would be, affected by family holidays, including Christmas.

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A potential windfall such as a bonus or inheritance was also found to influence a person’s decision to divorce, with one in 10 saying that this would make them more likely to initiate a divorce.

Eileen Macqueen, a divorce expert at Devonshires Solicitors, which commissioned the research, said: "Although it has been generally accepted that family occasions such as Christmas have traditionally had the biggest impact on the timing of a divorce, financial concerns are increasingly driving people’s decisions.

"Financial considerations could therefore overtake the ‘Divorce Day’ trend. People are starting to think more strategically about when they should divorce, particularly following – or ahead of – a change in their financial circumstances.

"Money worries can mean that some people delay initiating divorce proceedings, while a likely financial windfall often prompts people to instruct lawyers more quickly."

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