Not only does the arrival of the new year mark an end to the merriment of the Christmas period, but it also signals the coming of Divorce Day.
Divorce Day, as it has come to be known by lawyers in recent years, is a day on which law firms reportedly see a spike in couples filing to split from one another.
It falls on the first Monday following 1 January – which this year is on Monday 6 January – likely due to high numbers of separating couples hoping for a new start with the new year.
During the first three working days of the year, Relate received 84 per cent more visits to its website in comparison to the year before.
“The first Monday in January is when lawyers and law firms receive a surge of new enquiries from couples about divorce,” Relate stated, adding that it expected “enquiries to go through the roof”.
In January 2017, Relate received a 24 per cent increase in calls to their helpline in comparison to the average month.
Furthermore, data analysed by divorce support service Amicable in 2018 found that 40,500 people were predicted to search “divorce” online that January.
Amanda McAlister, managing partner of Manchester-based McAlister Family Law, explained that while people may assume Divorce Day is a publicity stunt devised by lawyers, “it is actually genuine”.
“Relationships that are already strained, for whatever reasons, finally crack when couples are forced to spend extended time together,” Ms McAlister said.
“But many couples wait until after the festive season has finished, to avoid spoiling the holidays for their children, extended families, or even for their soon-to-be-ex spouse over the holiday period.”
In November, it was reported that divorce rates for mixed-sex couples in England and Wales had fallen to their lowest level for nearly half a century.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that 101,669 divorces were recorded between mixed-sex couples in the 2017-2018 period.
Divorce rates between mixed-sex couples fell to 90,871 for the 2018-2019 period, marking an 11 per cent decrease and the lowest statistic since 1971.
According to ONS, approximately four in 10 marriages end in divorce, with around half occurring within the first 10 years of matrimony.