Divorce Day: What Is It and Why Does It Happen?

divorce day
Legally reviewed by: Shakeela Bi In: Family

Everything You Need to Know about UK Divorce Day

Divorce Day is nationally recognised as the first Monday of the year.

With the happy holiday period over and reality setting back in, some married couples begin to realise that they stayed together to keep the family happy over Christmas.

Back to work and school after time off also inevitably means tensions are running high, with the stress of the new year also causing friction in relationships.

If your relationship just can’t take any more, the best option for you and your family may be to divorce. Cue divorce day.

Our family law solicitors are here to help you with your divorce.

Divorce Statistics

Although the average length of a marriage is going up and the number of divorces is going down, the fact of the matter is that couples are still choosing to divorce.

In fact, it is estimated that 42 per cent of marriages in the UK end in divorce.

Since the first Monday of January is dubbed divorce day, it’s reasonable to assume that the first month of the year is the most popular for breaking things off.

Why Does Divorce Day Exist?

With a flurry of new year’s resolutions can come discontent with the ‘old you’.

Some people may associate see the epitome of their unhappiness with their spouse, whilst others may be thirsty for lots of change.

An unhappy Christmas period may also be what tips some couples over the edge: arguments, extended family and a dent in the finances can lead to a rift.

Keeping it together over the holidays for the sake of the kids is often a reason couples leave their divorce for January to deal with.

The Top Five Reasons Couples Divorce

Not all divorces come filled with anger and hurt – some are simply the result of an extended period of separation.

In the UK, there are five main reasons that couples cite for their divorce;

  • Unreasonable behaviour – this includes domestic or verbal abuse, lack of emotional support, excessive gambling, alcohol use, financial recklessness and unwillingness to engage in sexual relations, and made up nearly half of all divorces in the UK in 2017
  • Adultery –  this is defined as sexual intercourse between opposite-sex couples. Same sex couples cannot use this as a grounds for divorce. In addition, kissing, heavy petting, virtual and online sex does not constitute adultery. You cannot give adultery as a reason for divorce if you lived together as a couple for six months after you found out about it
  • Desertion – this reason can be cited if your spouse has left you without your agreement or a good reason to end the relationship for more than two years in the past two-and-a-half years
  • Two to five years of separation – to cite this you need your spouse’s consent to begin divorce proceedings. You can still live in the same house but have to be eating and sleeping separately
  • Five or more years of separation – this can be used as a reason for divorce, even if your spouse doesn’t consent to the divorce at all.

How Soon Can and Should We Divorce?

Divorce day is still early in January, meaning the stress from the holidays might be making you and/or your spouse act a little hot-headed.

Although you might be raring to get the divorce over and done with, there are things you should consider before jumping in feet-first;

  • Finances – divorce itself is expensive, but you should also consider any mortgages, rent payments, debts, savings and assets which might be split following a divorce. It’s a really good idea to get a legally binding financial agreement drawn up by a family solicitor 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, your spouse, and other family members. How custody will be decided should come into question too
  • Your emotional well-being – it’s easy to think of others, especially if you have kids, but you have to look after yourself too. Will a divorce cause a whole load of unnecessary stress which could be avoided by temporarily separating? If you think this might be the best option but don’t know how to go about it formally, our family mediators can help you figure it out

The Idea of Being Divorced Scares Me – Do We Have Other Options?

Yes, of course! Immediate divorce is not the only option and might cause regrets in the future, but it depends on your situation what’s right for you;

Legal Separation

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.

It is sometimes useful to separate initially, even if you eventually choose to divorce or reconcile the relationship.

Remaining Married But Separating Informally

If you choose to separate informally, you should be aware that you will not have much security when it comes to finances.

Of course, you will still be married so if you have a pre-nuptial agreement in which your financial situation is agreed upon then that may protect you.

However, if you don’t then there is a chance that you could end up losing out on money.

We Can Help

Divorce day sounds miserable, but you don’t have to be! Our family law solicitors are experienced in a whole range of areas and can help you choose the best option for you.

Whether it’s legal separation, family mediation, financial settlements, child agreements or just divorce, we can help – get in touch today.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.