Divorce D-Day: fact or fiction?

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By Tracey Dargan, Partner and Head of Family and Divorce.

For many years there has been suggestion by the media that there is an official ‘Divorce D-Day’. There have even been attempts to pin an actual date to this, such as the first Monday after the new year. There is very little that is official about this purported day and any such suggestion has to be taken ‘tongue in cheek’.

As Family Lawyers it is not uncommon to open our offices and be met with an influx of advice requests after the festive break. Sadly, the phrase ‘I put up with it for the children’s sake until after Christmas’ is a comment that endures during the first few weeks of the year.

Of course, the abundance of New Years’ Resolutions and the stress of the Christmas period, may well encourage adults to assess their relationships. It is not unusual for, what we lawyers may suggest, a seasonal increase in enquiries. Generally that is all it is, and it is important to stress that advice appointments do not always result in the issue of a plethora of divorce petitions. Family Practitioners who subscribe to the Resolution code of conduct, are under a duty to discuss with our clients, not only the breakdown of a relationship, but also to assess the prospects of a reconciliation. Indeed, we are required to file a certificate of reconciliation, at the time of filing any divorce petition, to ensure that the possibility has been explored and exhausted.

We generally find the same seasonal increase in September/October.Again, summer holidays have been booked and few parents want to let their children down during the summer break.

There are no official statistics to support the suggestion that the number of divorce petitions issued in January are at a significant increase and media attempt to turn this into something it is not, is likely to continue for many years to come.

On the converse, we are likely to see a potential increase in newly engaged couples, that have enjoyed the positives of the festive period, seeking advice on pre-marital agreements and need to get their house in order prior to their weddings.Perhaps not particularly romantic, but in this day and age, when the assets being introduced to a marriage may be unequal, very sensible.

So, for us lawyers, we simply have to be prepared for the increase in enquiries whilst Husbands and Wives re-evaluate their family relationships, rather than set ourselves up for a conveyor belt process of divorce petitions being sent to the court!

Advice and guidance is the key for any Family Lawyer, to aid the disenchanted client, at any time of the year, through their particular circumstances, and if divorce proceedings are inevitable, then that guidance and support will continue through the entire process.Our family team at Longmores take pride in the ability to nurture each client through one of the most difficult periods of their lives and guide them to their new chapter.

If you need advice or assistance regarding a family law matter then please contact our Partner and Head of Divorce and Family Law, Tracey Dargan.