Every January the press polish up the same articles they printed last year, and the year before, saying WOW! January is the busiest month of the year for divorce solicitors.
There is some truth in this, but there is also an element of urban myth. The myth goes that marriages come to grief following indiscretions and other excess at office parties. Or perhaps it was it the over-exposure to the in-laws? No doubt this is sometimes the case but, in truth, perhaps not that often.
One element of Christmas that does cause a good deal of anxiety is the financial stress of providing as good a Christmas as possible. For many, a ‘good Christmas’ is defined as one with expensive presents. There is undoubtedly sustained pressure from the retail sector to buy expensive gifts, the latest piece of technology and so on.
For others a ‘good Christmas’ is defined as spending happy times with their family. If a relationship is already under strain this can add to the pressure and anxiety.
Even if some of this pressure is resisted, as the New Year arrives, the gloomy weather is brightened by the arrival of summer holiday brochures. People ask: are we really going to be sitting together under the sunshade this summer?
What we find is that many of those clients who come to see us for a divorce in January are the ones we saw to discuss divorce in October and November. As the year runs down, we usually ask ‘Do you want to have the divorce on your plate at Christmas?’ Some do. Many don’t.
The power of the new year should not be underestimated. We all seem to have more energy, we are more purposeful and set ourselves targets and objectives. One of those can be to resolve an unhappy domestic situation.
Similarly, divorces that were underway in the old year, but limping along as the year ran down, are brought back to life by the participants resolving to ‘get it sorted’.
After all, the New Year can be a time for a fresh start.