Divorce Day is when when divorce cases reportedly spike. Liverpool solicitors Bell Lamb and Joynson dispute the phenomenon, but another firm disagrees. Tony McDonough reports
It has become accepted wisdom that the first Monday after New Year is peak time for divorce lawyers as the Christmas break is the final straw for already failing marriages.
However, Liverpool law firm Bell Lamb and Joynson (BLJ) Solicitors claims the idea of the January ‘Divorce Day’ is largely a myth and says it is now more likely to see a spike in divorce cases at other times of the year. However, another firm Weightmans claims it did see a surge in enquiries in January 2019.
Divorce Day centres around the idea that Christmas forces unhappy families together ay Christmas and relationships that were already teetering are finally pushed over the cliff. As soon as the break is over, husbands and wives make a beeline for their lawyer.
BLJ has been dealing with family matters since it was established in 1821, the North West firm looks at its history of divorce rates to prove that January Divorce day is, in fact, a misconception.
Partner in the firm’s family law department, Suzanne Daley, said: “Christmas can often be a testing time for struggling couples putting on a united front to make it through the festivities until the celebrations subside and reality hits.
“With the New Year often comes a new attitude, with the hope of fresh starts making January an unsurprisingly popular time for people to consider ending their marriage. However, as solicitors prepare for an influx of divorce enquiries, in reality it’s not too dissimilar to any other time of the year as far as statistics are concerned.
“Nationwide, January 6 may bring with it high numbers of divorce enquiries however, we anticipate that although it may be a busy time for us in this specific area, it won’t be the busiest day of 2020 based on last year’s figures.”
Divorce rates in the UK are on the rise, with studies suggesting that an estimated 42% of all marriages sadly don’t last. Suzanne says the BLJ family law department is seeing a pattern of consistency throughout the year, based on data from 2019. It shows June, July and November combined accounting for over 17% of total cases with other months considerably higher.
She added: “Our busiest time was during May and October, with over 34% of the total volume of annual divorce cases happening in this period. With January and December being our quietest months, we are challenging the media claims around Divorce Day.”
However, not everyone agrees. Another Liverpool law firm, Weightmans said that on Divorce Day last year, it saw a a 172% increase in enquiries. Eleanor Webster, family law specialist at Weightmans’ Liverpool office, said: The Christmas and New Year break is often a time for reflection on the year that has passed and setting goals and plans for the year still to come.
“Unsurprisingly, this can be a trigger for conflict and disappointment. While this period of reassessment can lead to families taking positive steps towards improving their relationships, unfortunately it can also lead to separation or divorce.”