Sometimes January doesn’t go quite as planned

By Pippa Thompson

January has long been the peak month for divorce in the UK and countless couples across the UK are aware that this period was likely to be a testing time. Many couples will have tried hard to give their marriage ‘one last go’ in the spirit of a New Year, but sadly the extra pressure may well have sent their relationships over the edge. If this sounds like you, do not be alarmed. In fact, recent research revealed that a quarter of UK couples (28%) considered their last Christmas as make or break for their marriage!

Sadly, the recent QualitySolicitors ‘Divorce Drivers’ study showed that some couples were already resigned to divorce, with 30% of these people vowing to give their children their ‘best ever Christmas’ ahead of starting divorce proceedings. So what is it about Christmas that causes so many issues to arise?

A natural increase in socialising over that festive period is often cited as the key reason for couples to consider divorce this month, with 52% saying it was a factor. The financial pressure Christmas places on family finances also plays a major role, with 51% saying money worries were likely to contribute, at least in part, to their decision to divorce in January.  Family politics, such as interfering in-laws and big Christmas arguments also rank highly, with 45% of couples expecting it to contribute toward their divorce decision.

Away from these core issues, more seemingly trivial matters can act as the final straw in already stressed marriages. For example, 38% of married people said their partner’s choice of Christmas gift would affect their decision as to whether to seek a divorce in January. Men proved more materialistic than women, with 43% saying the choice of present was key compared to 34% of women.

Melanie Bataillard-Samuel, Divorce expert from QualitySolicitors Clarke & Son says on the issue:

“Time and again we find that the pressure and expense of Christmas often acts as last the straw for marriages that are already under strain. Couples often resolve to give their marriage ‘one last go’ over the festive period, which in itself creates additional pressures. The intense spell of time spent in each other’s company and all of the social and financial pressures of Christmas make it a difficult time. We realise that many couples will have arrived at the difficult decision to divorce over that period. In order to make this traumatic process as painless as possible, we would advise all couples to maintain civil relations wherever possible and seek professional legal advice at the earliest opportunity.”


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