Is it true that the number of divorce applications spike in January? Or is this an urban myth?
Amy Langlois, Family Solicitor, comments "Sadly, it is true to say that we see an increase in enquiries into our Family Team after Christmas about divorcing or separating. It is often the same after the school summer holidays and Easter holidays. Often couples with children, who are close to breaking point, hold it together so as not to spoil Christmas / Easter / the holiday that has been planned, and also to serve as a reminder to the children each subsequent Christmas / Easter of the time that they split up. Of course, there is also the added pressure and expense of Christmas which can cause a struggling relationship to finally buckle."
New year, New start
At the time of year when we all start resolving to make improvements to ourselves and our lives, someone who is unhappy in their relationship may also decide it is the time to find out about making a break. The first working Monday of the year after the festive period, is reported to see a rise in couples feeling disillusioned about their relationships. It has even been dubbed "Divorce Day".
As a national picture, it is certainly when some married couples make enquiries about divorce, leading to an increase in enquiries to solicitors about what the process is and what the implications would be. The same is true in the level of enquiries received since the start of the year at Frettens.
Money worries are frequently high on the list of reasons for break-ups. A survey conducted by a national law firm specialising in divorce, recently revealed that financial pressures are the root cause of one in ten marriage break-ups.
Over a third of respondents (37%) said that financial pressures were the biggest challenge their marriage faced. Some 22% said that most of the arguments they had had with their partner were about money (2,000 divorce clients were surveyed).
Financial implications of divorce
The legal formality of getting a divorce in England and Wales can be relatively straightforward. This is only in realtion to bringing the marriage to an end and does not deal with any of the other matters to do with finances, property and children. Frettens offer a Fixed Fee Divorce which deals with the divorce itself for cases where both husband and wife wish to divorce (this is known as an undefended divorce).
However, the practical issues like financial settlements and arrangements for children are often extremely complicated and can cause confrontation. This is the reason that many couples ask for help from solicitors to navigate their way through.
A financial order
In most cases, finances are not clear cut or the couple cannot come to an agreement, a financial order may therefore have to be imposed by the court.
This settles money matters relating to pensions, maintenance and property assets; with the division being agreed between the former couple or their lawyers, each side being referred to as parties.
In some rare instances, where the two parties cannot come to an agreements, a judge can impose a settlement for them.
How long does it take?
Amy says "On average, it takes nearly a year for a divorcing couple to reach a financial agreement, but it can quite frequently take over 18 months. However, it really depends on the parties. For some of the people making divorce enquiries this January, by the time they receive their Decree Absolute, the paper which formally ends the marriage, it could well be next Christmas."
Our Family Team are happy to discuss any issues that this raises for you. If you have any questions, you only have to ask us at Frettens. Please call 01202 499255 and Amy or a member of the team will be happy to chat about your situation and your particular requirements.