Divorce Day myth is back for another year
Once again the media appears to be out in force reporting on the so called “Divorce Day” where apparently there is a spike in couples considering ending their marriages after the festive period. This year some reports even go so far as to say that family solicitors are backing the nickname. The proposition seems to be that new clients flood solicitors’ offices on the relevant Monday (this year supposedly the 8th January) and are issued with their divorce petitions the same day. Some reports also state that January often sees twice as many couples begin divorce proceedings as any other time of year.
The reality, of course, is far from the media reports. Firstly there are no national statistics to back up the number of divorces begun in any given month in England and Wales. The only figures to be published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) are based on the number of divorces granted annually.
Secondly the majority of divorce solicitors if asked would likely say that it is very rare for them to see a new client and issue their divorce petition the same day. In the majority of cases the Law Society’s Family Law Protocol is followed whereby ‘Prior to the issue of proceedings … solicitors acting for applicants or petitioners should notify those acting for respondents … of the intention to commence proceedings.’ Only in extreme circumstances where there may be an international jurisdiction would it be likely for a petition to be issued the same day as seeing a new client but even then it is not always the case.
Whatever the reason for the media’s stance on the Divorce Day myth, some family solicitors are fighting back and have signed up to the hashtag #thereisnosuchthingasdivorceday . Anyone who is considering divorce will do so in their own given time and should, wherever possible, get independent legal advice from a competent and experienced family law solicitor so all options are discussed in detail before a decision is made.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.