What’s “Divorce Day” and Why Does it Happen?

“Divorce Day” falls on the first working Monday after the new year, which in 2024 was the 8th of January. Many in the legal profession have coined the term due to a spike in couples filing for divorce on that day each year.

So, what exactly causes this surge in divorce applications following the festive period?

New year and new beginnings

The new year is often a time when people reflect on their lives, considering changes they want to make to be healthier and happier. 

Many make New Year’s resolutions to eat better, work out more or cut down on alcohol – while others may be prompted to make bigger life decisions regarding their relationships.

As this time of year prompts deep reflection, the desire for a fresh start may prompt people who are unhappy in their marriage to consider filing for divorce.

Seasonal strains 

Another reason why people may file for divorce on the first working Monday in January is due to seasonal strains felt over the festive period. 

While Christmas may be joy-filled and fun for some, it can accentuate unhappiness for others. Couples may spend much more time together during the festive season, but if they haven’t nurtured the partnership throughout the year, it can bring issues to light.

Being in each other’s company may highlight feeling disconnected, misunderstood or even lonely in the marriage.

As well as this, the obligation to see family and friends while feeling “merry and bright” may put additional strain on fraught relationships.

Financial pressure

Another reason that couples may decide to call it quits in January is due to the financial pressures of the festive season.

It’s no secret that Christmas can be a hugely expensive time, with societal pressure to buy lavish gifts, put on huge spreads for loved ones and splash out on parties and events. 

In fact, “the total value of seasonal sales in the United Kingdom was forecast to amount to approximately 85 Billion British pounds in 2023” says Statista, with the average spending per head of around £973 in London. 

This financial pressure can cause couples to argue, particularly if they have different attitudes towards money. While one may want to be conservative with spending, the other may overspend against the household budget, leading to friction. This can lead to further discussions over wider financial concerns and goals, and if solutions are unavailable, it could contribute to the marriage breaking down. 

While there’s no sole reason for a surge in divorce enquiries on “Divorce Day”, there may be several contributing factors such as seasonal strains and financial pressure.

If you’re considering splitting from your spouse this new year and are unsure where to begin, know that you’re not alone.

There are many resources out there to help you during this difficult time, as well as specialist family solicitors who can guide you through the process.

They’ll be able to listen to your needs and support you with the application, division of assets, child arrangements and more. 

You can also find more information on divorce through the Citizen’s Advice and the Government websites. 

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