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UK lawyers prepare for divorce peak

Posted by: Laurence Simons 03/01/14

Did your husband insist on deviating from the accepted, long-running turkey cooking plan this Christmas in favour of something trendy he'd seen the Hairy Bikers do and literally ruin dinner for everyone? Or maybe your wife bought you 'comedy' socks for the fourth year in a row, crumpling her mouth in a sarcastic moue of faux-disappointment at your reaction?

Well then, January might be the time to consider a divorce. Bristol-based family and divorce lawyers at Irwin Mitchell recently told the Bristol Post that the first month of the year is traditionally a very busy time for companies that deal with marital disputes.

However, the organisation was keen to distance itself from the hoary concept that a stressful Christmas period is behind the increase in separations seen over January.

Alison Hawes, an expert family and divorce lawyer at the Bristol office, said: "It's a sad fact that in January many divorce lawyers have their busiest period, but it is a myth that everyone who comes to see us has made a sudden decision to split over the Christmas holidays."

According to Ms Hawes, the majority of people who contact them about a potential separation have been thinking about the process for some time, perhaps waiting until the new year before making their decision final.

Many people see the start of 2014 as an opportunity to start a fresh slate and as such decide to put their divorce plans into action in January, she explained.

There are more than 100,000 divorces each year nationally - with more than half involving young children, the emphasis is generally on an amicable separation rather than the kind of throwing-glasses-of-wine-around-in-fancy-restaurants showboating that often represents the splitting up of a marriage on the soaps.

For family lawyers, January could be an opportunity to enjoy some extra business, but there is no doubt that experts in this field will be keen to ensure their clients are making a well-considered decision before choosing to represent them.