January 3, 2014

Why D Day for divorce is just plain daft

According to the media, family lawyers herald the start of a New Year with an annual onslaught of post-festive divorce enquiries on ‘D Day’ as couples decide to pack up their marriage along with the Christmas decorations.

I have never been a believer in ‘D Day’ – a media invention, in my view – and what adds to the confusion this year is that no one seems to agree on the date. The Daily Mail says it’s today – ‘Divorce Friday’ – the first day legal firms are open after the seasonal break (actually, some of us have been working before today!). Parenting website Netmums , who has just launched a report on the true impact of divorce on children, says that it is Monday, January 6 – the day when schools reopen.  Others claim it was yesterday, January 2 – the first working day of 2014.

In my personal experience as a family lawyer in Yorkshire for the last 25 years, couples do not hang on until after Christmas to then flee the nest as the last strains of Auld Lang Syne are ringing in their ears.  To suggest there is a queue of clients on the telephone or standing outside lawyers’ offices is, I think, a complete nonsense.

Yes, the festive season can put extra strains on already fragile relationships; however most couples who reach the decision to separate do not take it lightly and may have been contemplating it for some time.  If children are involved, many parents will want to orchestrate the final separation in January when the security and routine of school returns. Couples without children will often separate before Christmas.

The decision to divorce is too personal, significant and a defining moment in most peoples’ lives to simply be a ‘calendar’ event.

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