Post Christmas surge in divorces – myth or reality?


The received wisdom is that troubled couples stay together over the Christmas period under sufferance ‘for the sake of the children’, but come January they hit the lawyer’s office. As the nation returns to work, you will see the same articles appearing in the media across the country. They are more often than not written by solicitors many months before (or reused from previous years), and contend that there will be a surge in client enquiries about divorce in the first two weeks in January. My colleagues and I always exchange wry smiles at this point. Does this reflect reality or is is an attempt by those authors to drum up some business with the message “come on down: you are not alone!”


Many of the articles mention surveys and studies to back up their claims, but I’m not aware of any research on when clients are most likely in a year to seek legal advice. No citations are given and I couldn’t find anything on the Internet about it. One lawyer in the US contended that their local court had confirmed that most Divorce Petitions were filed in mid January than at any other month of the year.  When I first started out in practice some years ago, I think there was a definite increase in calls in September (after the long summer holidays) and in January. I find the demarcation now to be much less pronounced and cyclical. Is this just a symptom of the current consumer culture that we’re always hearing about, where people are less willing to wait?


Wherever the truth lies, the stories will be printed, and lawyers will be in their offices next week, hoping for those telephones to start ringing. Happy New Year!