‘Divorce Day’ looms

‘Divorce Day’ looms as Monday 8th January 2018 dubbed busiest day for family lawyers

The first working day of the year, dubbed by lawyers as ‘Divorce Day’, is set to fall on Monday 8th January 2018.

After the stress of the festive period, divorce lawyers are expecting to see a huge surge in new enquiries for divorce advice on ‘the first day back’.

Charlotte Leyshon, founder of Cardiff-based boutique family law firm, Lux, explains: “Christmas is often a time where there is huge pressure on families to have the perfect ‘chocolate box’ period, particularly when there are children concerned. It is often unrealistic and the reality is very different.

“In relationships that are already under strain the extra financial pressure, along with spending an extended period of time together, can often be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

Ms Leyshon continues ““I have been practising family law since 2003 and, in my experience, the first working week in January is much busier than at other times of the year, though I’ve had new enquiries come through as early as Boxing Day.

“There was even one desperately sad case of a lady calling on Christmas Day. She had discovered a receipt for a diamond Rolex that she didn’t end up finding under the Christmas tree. It turned out to be for someone else who her husband had been having an affair with and the whole thing came to a head on Christmas Day.”

Charlotte explained it is also a difficult time for people who are already embroiled in the divorce process where they may not be with their children.

“It is perfectly usual for me to receive emails and calls from clients on Christmas Day because their former husband/wife/partner has not handed over the children for their share of Christmas Day.”

However, the reality is that many divorce enquiries do not necessarily result in divorce proceedings being issued, with many people wanting to seek advice after a stressful festive period.

Ms Leyshon advises “With any initial meeting I would ask a client if they truly believe the marriage is over. I would always suggest couple’s counselling as a first step.

“It can often be the case that tensions run very high over Christmas and resorting to a divorce is not a step that should be taken lightly.”

Recent findings from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed that there was a 5% increase in divorce petitions presented at court in 2016, compared to the previous year.

The average marriage now lasts 12 years, with the average age for a divorcing man between 45 and 49, while women are more likely to be between 30 and 39. Overall, statistics show that 42% of marriages now end in divorce.

With 2017 seeing various high-profile marriage breakdowns including between Davina McCall and Matthew Robertson, as well as Chris Pratt and Anna Farris, the jury is out on what the strains of the festive period may bring for many couples as we move into 2018.