‘Divorce Day’ myth back for another year

It seems that every year the media come out in force reporting on so called “Divorce Day” where apparently there is a spike in couples considering ending their marriages after the festive period. Some reports even go as far as to say that family solicitors are backing the nickname. The proposition seems to be that new clients flood solicitors’ offices on the first working day after the festive period (this year being Tuesday 4 January 2020) and issue 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 the year.

The reality, of course, is far from the media reports. Whilst it is now an easier process to start divorce proceedings as the service has moved online, it is still not the case that divorce petitions are being submitted the same day as a solicitor sees their client. 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. The Law Society has a strict Family Law Protocol which should be 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 jurisdictional issue would it be likely for a petition be issued the same day as seeing a new client, but even then this is not always the case.

There are also 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.

To counteract the media’s stance on the Divorce Day myth, many family solicitors are once again flooding social media with 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 that all options are discussed in detail before a decision is made. At Barker Gotelee we can offer a fixed price initial consultation where discussions can be had in confidence and clients can decide on the option that is right for them. Contact our family team on 01473 611 211 for more information.

Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich.

Ipswich Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk