'No such thing as divorce day': Marriage myth busted by experts

Juliet Harvey, legal director Birketts LLP explained that a Divorce Day each January doesn't exist

Eager to turn fable into fact, Juliet Harvey, legal director Birketts LLP explains that a Divorce Day each January - the most common day for people to contact a lawyer seeking advice about separation - doesn't exist - Credit: Getty/Birketts

January is a tough month for many people - whether it's down to financial strains after Christmas or relationship problems. 

And the combination of these tensions has led to many dubbing the first month of the year 'divorce month' - with the first working Monday of the year - today - deemed 'divorce day'.

The thinking behind the windfall is that many couples start to feel the strain in the run up to Christmas, and decide to wait until festivities are over or give the relationship one last try in the new year before officially calling it quits, experts say. 

But a top family lawyer has confirmed that this is simply  not the case.

Eager to turn fable into fact, Juliet Harvey, legal director at Norwich firm Birketts, said: "You may have seen stories about 'Divorce Day' each January, often in the week after children return to school.

"Reports would have you believe that this is the most common day for people to contact a lawyer seeking advice about separation. It is a myth.

Juliet Harvey, legal director Birketts LLP

Juliet Harvey, legal director Birketts LLP - Credit: Birketts LLP

"There is no 'rush' after the festive break or at any other time of the year. However, Christmas and New Year can be a stressful time for families and sometimes cracks in relationships start to appear.

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"That, coupled with the stress of Covid, lockdowns, home schooling and the recent Omicron surge, may have caused more couples to reflect on their relationship as they enter a New Year."

She added: "The current fault-based divorce process will end later this year and be replaced with a completely new process from April 6.

"Couples will no longer have to cite blame or be separated for at least two years.

"Any person seeking advice regarding divorce will need to consider whether it would be best to wait until April and utilise the new no-fault procedure before presenting their application to end their marriage or civil partnership.

"While couples may choose to wait until April before commencing formal divorce proceedings, they can still seek advice in relation to children and financial arrangements."

Tips for people struggling with their relationships

Break-up and divorce coach Sarah Woodward shares tips to help people cope with a split:

  1. Support It’s important that people have someone to turn to when they're feeling low, but those closest to the individual may be too invested to be objective.

  2. Don’t ignore feelings People should allow themselves to experience all emotions.

  3. Take off the rose-tinted glasses It’s natural to romanticise relationships, but be honest - what was wrong with it? 

  4. Take a break from social media 

  5. Exercise Getting up and moving releases all the endorphins which creates the ‘feel good factor’. People should choose an exercise they enjoy and simply get their bodies moving.

  6. Self-care People should listen to their bodies and what it needs. Remember that self-care is not selfish, and that people need to look after themselves before they can look after anyone else.

Break-up and divorce coach Sarah Woodward

Break-up and divorce coach Sarah Woodward - Credit: Supplied by Sarah Woodward