08 January, 2020
Most people will now be aware from the newspapers, reporting every January, that there is now apparently a "Divorce Day". This is usually on or around the 7th or 8th January every year when the press reports that there will be a spike in Solicitors receiving enquiries from couples who are unhappy in their marriage.
Sometimes the stress of trying to have the perfect Christmas, financial constraints or having relatives to stay, when perhaps there are already some cracks in the relationship, can often put added pressure on couples which results in more people making enquiries in relation to commencing divorce proceedings.
Support service, Amicable, reported in January 2019 that more than 40,500 people will type in an online search for "divorce" in January which is apparently nearly 25% higher than at any other time of the year.
The relationship charity Relate, also reports that they receive peak calls in January as often disagreements, arguments and stresses, as mentioned above, come to ahead. I have also found over the years that New Year's Resolutions play a part, as of course, do office Christmas parties!
For those couples who have already separated, the build-up to Christmas is rarely a happy one. The fortunate couple who can resolve the children arrangements, agreeing which days the children spend with each parent and thus their related families are very lucky. Unfortunately, a lot of people still cannot agree about Christmas contact and prior to Christmas, family Lawyers also see a bit of a spike in couples instructing us to try and resolve this issue.
Sadly, by the time a client makes an appointment at the beginning of December or even end of November, if agreement cannot be agreed in correspondence, it is often too late to resolve matters through the Court channels. Mediation is always an excellent option but, to refer a matter to mediation at the beginning of December, to try and get appointments made, so that resolution can be reached prior to Christmas is, an extremely tight timetable.
Similarly, any application to Court would also highly unlikely result in matters being resolved prior to the Christmas break.
Parents do need to be thinking about Christmas and what days and times the children will enjoy time with their parents and extended families as early as the summer. This gives you the safety net of, if agreement cannot be reached, being able to go down the mediation route and even if that does not work, you have still got time to get an application into Court to be determined prior to the Christmas break.
In an ideal world parents will agree, but this is not an ideal world and the reality is that a lot of parents fall out over the Christmas arrangements than any other arrangements.
Getting early advice - even if it is just for a half hour fixed fee appointment, this could potentially be money very well spent. This advice will enable you as a parent to know what sort of things would strengthen your case, what sort of things the Court will have regard to when determining any disagreement between parents, and if divorce is contemplated, would also be helpful in giving you options and suggesting ways to save money, legal costs and more importantly stress and anxiety, if that is the path you decide to go down.
For more information contact Judith O'Brien in our Family/Divorce department via email or phone on 01772 220022. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.