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Why Is January Such a Busy Time for Family Law?

The first Monday back to work after the Christmas and New Year break has been dubbed ‘Divorce Day’ by the papers over the past few years, with some law firms reporting that enquiries rise by as much as 25% in the first month of the year.

But what is it about January which marks such an increase in contact with family lawyers?

The January divorce spike is often based on decisions made before Christmas. However, couples prefer to have ‘one last Christmas’ together so as not to cause disruption during the festive period.

This applies especially to couples who have children and don’t want to upset the martial unit during a period of extended time as a family.

Mark Heptinstall, head of family at Slater Heelis, said:

“We’ve seen a surge in the number of enquiries since Christmas Day and we expect this to last until at least the second week of January. Our phone lines are busy and we’ve been inundated with emails at all of our offices. We’ve called the first working Monday of 2016 ‘divorce day’ because we saw a huge spike in the number of enquiries following what could be termed a ‘festive fallout’. As people get back to work, reality kicks in for many couples and they are determined to make a fresh start in the New Year as soon as they can.”

“It’s a challenging time for families but our team always aims to ensure the pain of separation is minimised and to make what might seem the maze of separation clear.  We offer mediation to couples to help settling their arrangements after the split, particularly if children are involved.”

This period is also popular for divorces because the financial pressures of Christmas can lead to more arguments and discord between couples. A study by Scottish Widows states that 40% of married parents saw strains in their relationships due to financial pressures. This mixed with spending a long time together during the Christmas period can trigger the realisation that a ‘fresh start’ is needed.