A lot has been said about “Divorce Day” over the years. It’s also known as “National Divorce Day” – the first working Monday of the New Year when family lawyers see the biggest surge in new enquiries from those considering divorce or separation and wanting to explore their options.
But why? Not, why are they calling, but why January?
My own thoughts are that Christmas has a lot to do with things, as well as the New Year. Christmas time, especially the lead up in December, is a busy and stressful time for couples and families. It’s a time when the children have their nativity shows at school, and when relatives and families are planning their holidays to come and visit. It’s a time when planning is going on wherever you look, whether it’s who is coming to dinner, what’s on the menu and who is left to buy presents for. This Christmas came with it’s very own special stresses and strains after a difficult year too!
Divorce at Christmas, or the prospect of starting a divorce before Christmas, is daunting. People could be forgiven for wanting to avoid that amount of stress in their lives at such a busy time of year.
And then there are the children. This is the one holiday that all children look forward to, whether they be big or small. Even grumpy teenagers, who will probably just grunt and say they “don’t care”. And for parents, this is a time to spend with their children, and especially for the younger ones, enjoy watching their faces as they open their presents Christmas morning and tell you what Santa has brought them.
For a person in an unhappy marriage, they are going to want this last Christmas with their children. A last one that doesn’t involve arguments about who goes where and what time the children should change houses. Just one last normal day. Divorce will mean shared parenting and ongoing child arrangements.
I also think the reason a person would avoid divorcing pre-Christmas has a lot to do with the psychology of the New Year. This is a time for resolutions and new beginnings. It’s a fact that new gym memberships skyrocket in the month of January as everyone promises that this is the year they will become fit and active. The same is true for many things. January 1 is a new beginning and a new chapter and psychologically, that’s often all it takes for someone to make the decision that now is the time to start the new chapter in their life.
I get it. I’ve got a personal connection to all of this. When I was ten years old, it was a funny Christmas. My parents weren’t speaking much, but my two brothers and I didn’t think a lot about it. Christmas went along and we opened our stockings from Santa and saw family and we ate too much dessert. The next day my mum took us out to the shops to go and spend some of our Christmas money and while we were out she told us that her and my dad were splitting up and that he was moving out that day. Everyone wants that one last Christmas.
And did it traumatise me? Am I writing this with tears in my eyes, cursing my parents for what they did to me? Absolutely not! My parents, sadly, did not work. They were two very different people who wanted two very different things out of life. When they separated, the tension at home evaporated, and nothing, to this day, makes me want anything to have changed. I was grateful we could have that last Christmas, but I was more grateful they both decided to start afresh and not try and stay together for the sake of their children.
So as National Divorce Day falls upon us, with Christmas and New Year out of the way, I implore anyone out there who is unhappy to consider their new chapter. Divorce isn’t easy. It’s hard. If it were any other way then there wouldn’t be divorce lawyers like me. It is one of the most stressful things a person can go through, emotionally and financially. But with the right help and guidance, it is a time for growth and a chance for new opportunities in life. It’s a second go for many. It might just be the best thing you have ever done as well.
Rob Webster is a dual qualified solicitor, first admitted in New Zealand in 2015. Rob likes to take a pragmatic approach to work and takes care to always be available to his clients to assist them in what is often the most stressful period of their lives. He is committed to providing the very best client service and is available to assist in all aspects of family law, including divorce, finances, children matters and cohabitation disputes.
The team at Maguire Family Law are experts in family law cases. For more information, you can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp on 07725 115219. Alternatively if you are able to call us we are more than happy to discuss matter with you over the telephone on 01625 544650.