The BBC has posted an article saying that in Wales, at least, January is becoming known as ‘divorce month’. Relate (a charity that provides relationship support throughout the UK), in its Welsh arm, reports to having received 50 enquiries on 3rd January, compared to 8/9 per day in December. It does not mention whether this service was open over the winter break or not, but if the service was closed for an extra 6 day period, the increase in enquiries mentioned could simply reflect that build up. So is ‘divorce day/month’ really just a myth?

There are always annual posts about ‘divorce day’ at the start of the new year, and now it seems this is extending to divorce month. Whilst there is an increase in enquiries on the first day back to work in the new year, it is not an avalanche of divorces or relationship breakdowns all on one day. There is often a build up of enquiries following office closures over the winter break, and this explains at least some of the ‘increase’. There is also undoubtedly a tailing off of enquiries prior to Christmas, and some of the new year enquiries will be those that have put off taking that step until the new year.

Often clients come to see us leading up to Christmas so that they are fully aware of their situation from a legal perspective before Christmas, but knowing that they don’t want to rock the boat prior to Christmas for obvious reasons. So in some respects yes January does see an increase in enquiries. However, there is also no doubt that the last 3 years (Covid-19 and the continuing cost of living crisis), will continue to put unknown levels of pressure and stress on relationships, and in some cases, there is most certainly an impending tipping point, sometimes the holiday period is just that, the tipping point.

What we do see a very clear increase in, is clients who have seen us previously, months sometimes years before, that get in contact again to start to progress matters. I do not believe it is a New Years resolution as such, but instead perhaps the realisation that yet another year has begun where still nothing is resolved. Therefore, the New Year prompts people to take progressive steps to getting their financial relationship with their ex-partner finalised whereas perhaps they had previously allowed matters to drift.

What I would wholeheartedly agree with are the comments by Angela Major from Relate regarding communication. She is referencing communication whilst still in a relationship, which is most certainly important, but in my experience, it remains as crucial (where possible), on separation. Where parties are able to communicate amicably, the issues on separation can be narrowed and agreed quicker if the parties are able to communicate. Issues to discuss can cover financial decisions over property and bills (interim and long term), and arrangements over children and even pets. The more issues you can agree between you the less you need to consult your legal representative over.

If you have any queries over the ending of your relationship, please contact a member of the Family team at Ellisons.