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Whilst many people start the New Year by making resolutions, the media says that family practitioners prepare for a surge in new divorce and separation enquiries and refer to the first working Monday in January as ‘Divorce Day’. But is it all a myth and will the introduction of no-fault divorce in April be dubbed by the media as the new Divorce Day?

We are often asked:

  • Is there any truth behind ‘Divorce Day’?
  • Do people decide to divorce or separate because it’s the start of new year?
  • Is there an ideal time to file for divorce?

Whist we believe ‘Divorce Day’ is just an angle for a media story, in some cases, it could be argued that it exists. Some people prefer to get through the festive period (whether that be for the sake of the wider family or because Christmas time can be stressful enough) and then treat the New Year as a fresh start. For others, they try to use the time at home to focus on their relationship and spend the time working out a way forward.

Regardless of the motivation, we are not convinced that the New Year is the sole catalyst for people deciding to divorce or separate. In our experience, a spouse considers whether their relationship is over long before they contact us to help them.

Alternatives to divorce

It may be that your relationship does not need to come to an end. You should consider whether the following could bring you closer together:

  1. Talk to each other.
  2. Create a “safe space” where you and your spouse can be open and honest without fear of judgement (albeit easier said than done).
  3. Try and see this as an opportunity to address issues which have been lurking in the corner of your mind and discuss them.
  4. Identify areas in which you have contributed to the current situation. This could be as simple as concealing your feelings which have since manifested.
  5. Take action. This requires commitment from you and your partner to move forward. It is an opportunity for you both to determine what this looks like. It should not be one-sided.
  6. Be resourceful. There are a number of resources available that could help, such as attending marriage or couples counselling, going along to local family support groups or speaking to friends and/or family.

However, if you feel that divorce is the most suitable option, it is strongly encouraged that you seek independent, professional legal advice. If you are considering divorce or separation, the family team at Debenhams Ottaway can help you.

This article was co-written by senior family lawyer Natalie Lester and trainee lawyer Emma Richardson.

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The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.