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Divorce Day’ is now ‘Divorce Month’: why so many seek divorce in the New Year

The first Monday of the New Year is legendary amongst divorce lawyers as the day in the year when they receive the most calls from people wanting to start divorce proceedings.

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woman in white dress shirt and black pants sitting on gray couch

In reality, it’s no longer just a day of heightened calls – the increase lasts for more like a month.

This is according to Grant Stephens, head of Cardiff-based law firm Grant Stephens Family Law.

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Grant Stephens

His firm specialises in all aspects of matrimonial and children law; Grant is an expert in big money divorce cases and has acted for and against a number of high profile and celebrity clients.

“I’d say ‘Divorce Day’ is definitely becoming more of a month-long phenomenon,” he says. “During the month of January, the number of family law enquiries can spike substantially, rising to around 150% of the November, December and February average.”

According to Grant, there are several reasons for this:

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“Some clients choose to delay starting proceedings until Christmas is over, particularly if children are involved,” he says. “They elect to have one last Christmas as a family before pushing the nuclear button. Then there are people who see New Year as a milestone for a fresh start; they have been waiting for that point in the calendar to start the ball rolling and may have been planning and preparing for some time.

“Another factor can be tensions that have intensified over Christmas. It can be a testing time with the whole family together during the festive season, often with wider family members too. This can mean that things get heated and can be the catalyst in flushing out hidden and uncommunicated hostilities. Also, if a couple are already separated, the tipping point may be that contact time with the children was not shared out equitably over the festive season, which invariably leads to children law enquiries.”

With divorce enquiries, one of the first things Grant’s team will do is try to establish whether there is a chance of reconciliation once the dust clears.

Grant explains: “It’s important to establish whether this is a knee jerk reaction, and we tend to gauge that as part of the onboarding process: is it an impetuous decision or something they’ve really given serious thought to?”

“For anyone who is clear about going ahead with separation, my advice is to prepare by gaining as much of an understanding of the family finances as possible, seek emotional support from a friend, family member or even a divorce coach, and ensure that they find a lawyer who can support them through the process in the most amicable and child focused way, but one who will manage their family law cases pro-actively and with a no-nonsense approach.”

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