Weightmans received almost triple the number of enquiries from couples looking to separate in the days following Christmas and New Year compared to the same period the month before.
In the working days that followed the festive period, enquiries to the family law team at Weightmans increased by 172%. A new instruction was also received on Christmas morning—a first for the firm.
The first working Monday of a new year has become known as ‘Divorce Day’, as one of the most popular days of the year for seeking legal advice, as couples who were unable to resolve their issues over the festive period reach out to specialist lawyers. In 2019, Divorce Day is today.
Louise Walker, family law specialist at Weightmans in Leeds, believes that not only is this a proven trend, but one that is likely to increase in the future.
Walker said: “The festive period is a key time where we are given time to reflect, and assess how happy we are. Christmas, together with other significant dates such as New Year, birthdays, anniversaries or Valentine’s Day, can trigger a time of conflict, stress and disappointment, which, for some, ultimately ends in separation or divorce.”
“For the most part, couples that make the difficult decision to separate or progress with a divorce in the New Year do not take the decision lightly.”
“However, the introduction of online divorce applications in 2018 has already delivered interesting figures. Currently only available to parties who are representing themselves, rather than using lawyers, hundreds of people applied online for a divorce over the festive period.”
“We urge caution to those thinking of issuing proceedings without taking at least some prior legal advice. The law and financial issues are more sensitive and complex than the internet leads people to believe, and operating in the absence of practical and sensible legal advice can often cause more problems than it solves. Some proceedings speedily issued may become cases of ‘divorce in haste, repent at leisure’.”
“It will be interesting to see how these numbers change in the following years, but with a potential divorce at their fingertips, the digital future means that we will probably see this figure increase.”