Divorce Day 2023
‘Divorce Day 2023’, falls on the first business day of the new year, Tuesday 3rd January 2023.
The Christmas holidays can be a trying time for many couples, sometimes being the nail in the coffin for already struggling relationships. Although nearly one-quarter of couples spend up to two years unhappy in their relationship, many couples will wait until the festive period is over before filing for a divorce.
What is Divorce Day?
National Divorce Day 2023 falls on the first working day of January. It has been termed ‘Divorce Day’ by solicitors who noticed a significant spike in divorces around this time of the year.
Why Are Couples More Likely to Divorce in January?
It is believed that the festive period can provide a time of reflection allowing individuals to gain clarity on what they want in life and re-assess their relationships. In addition, the Christmas period can be a catalyst for arguments and disagreements, therefore contributing to the spike in divorces in the new year.
Divorce can be difficult to go through even in a situation where both parties agree. Most couples will go into a marriage with no intention of ever getting a divorce, and sometimes doing so can come as a shock. However, the reality is that almost 50% of marriages end in divorce.
A Look Back at Divorce in 2022
2022 has been a huge year for divorce law with the introduction of ‘No-Fault Divorce’ on the 6th April 2022. ‘No-Fault Divorce’ aims to reduce potential conflicts between parties when divorcing.
Although ‘No-Fault Divorce’ provides a new route for couples to divorce, divorce petitions filed are still down 2% compared to 2021. This is the lowest rate since the 1970s. There were 30,154 divorces filed in January to March 2022, a decrease of 20% from the same period last year. In addition, there were 23,973 decree absolutes granted in January to March 2022.
Regarding the times to get a divorce, the mean average time from petition to decree nisi was 26 weeks in 2022 and 56 weeks to the decree absolute. Although the time to reach decree nisi was a similar figure to 2021, the time to reach decree absolute was up 5 weeks in 2021.
Moving to Digital Divorces
Over 80% of divorces and probate applications in the last quarter were managed digitally.
Reasons for Divorce
‘No-Fault Divorce’ is a new divorce law allowing spouses to divorce without assigning blame. Before ‘No-Fault Divorce’ was introduced, couples would have to have been separated for two years or more. This was if they wanted to divorce without blame.
The current divorce law requires the petitioner (now called the ‘applicant’) in the divorce to rely on one of the five facts to prove the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Two of these facts are fault-based. The facts are:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Two years of separation with the Respondent’s consent
- Five years of separation
‘No-Fault Divorce’ law has been designed to provide a solution for couples wishing to divorce on more amicable grounds without having to wait two years.
Like with the previous law, the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage will remain the overall ground for divorce. However, the new bill will remove the requirement to establish one or more facts to prove an irretrievable breakdown.
How Long till I Can Get Divorced?
With Divorce Day so soon after Christmas, it’s important to make sure you assess if you really want a divorce or if the stress of Christmas has made your relationship temporarily more difficult.
Although you might be wanting to get the divorce sorted quickly, there are some factors you should consider first:
- Finances – divorce itself can be expensive. You should also consider any mortgages, rent payments, debts, savings, and assets that might be split following a divorce. It’s a good idea to get a legally binding financial agreement drawn up by a family solicitor. This is recommended before initiating divorce proceedings.
- Relationships with children – if you have children, a divorce is inevitably going to affect them. You should also be wary of how it might affect their relationship with you, and your spouse. You should decide how custody will be sorted.
- Your emotional well-being – it’s easy to think of others, especially if you have kids. However, you must look after yourself too. If you believe that a divorce might cause a lot of stress, you might want to consider a temporary separation. If you want a temporary separation but don’t know how to go about it formally, our family mediators can help.
Alternative Options to Divorce
Immediate divorce is not the only option. If you are unsure if divorce is right for you, there are some alternative options you can take. These can help you know if a divorce is the right choice for you.
This means that you and your partner agree to live as separate people leading separate lives.
This requires a legal separation agreement to be formally drawn up which can deal with a range of things, but most importantly your finances.
Remaining Married but Separating Informally
If you choose to separate informally, you should be aware that you will not have much security regarding finances.
If you have a pre-nuptial agreement in which your financial situation is agreed upon then that may protect you as you are legally still married.
However, if you don’t then there is a chance that you could end up losing out on money.
If you are thinking of getting a divorce, our family law solicitors can help you choose the best option.
All advice is correct at time of publication.