Divorce surge expected
One of the most reliable headlines we expect to see around this time of the year relates to ‘divorce day’, with a divorce surge expected by family lawyers.
Enquiry rates for divorce and separation advice are supposedly higher in the New Year, with already strained relationships buckling under the pressure of the festive season.
Some new figures from Co-op Legal Services suggest an anticipated 146% increase in enquiries for the family law provider in the first quarter.
They report that more than 100,000 divorces are granted each year in the UK.
With relationships more likely to head towards divorce once Christmas is over, Co-op expects to experience a big increase in divorce enquiries now, and then another peak in March.
The divorce rush seen at the start of the year is often considered to be down to people wanting a fresh start after a difficult festive season.
However, data released by Co-op in its loneliness report ‘Trapped in a Bubble’ reveals that a split is a common trigger for loneliness.
The business, which has partnered with the British Red Cross since 2015 to tackle loneliness, found that as many as 33% of people who are divorced or recently separated saying they always or often feel lonely.
New research by Co-op has found that loneliness is often felt at a time when people are experiencing a transition in terms of their social connections – something that often comes with divorce when interactions that had been taken for granted are no longer there.
The study also found that divorce can lead to a loss of knowledge and skills, with responsibilities having to be taken on that used to lie with a partner.
Tracey Moloney, Head of Family Law at Co-op Legal Services, said:
“We know that divorce can be a difficult and heart-wrenching time for families and lives can be turned upside down. Couples have often already considered divorcing for a number of months but they then hold off announcing their plans until after the festive period, mainly to avoid upset among family members. We receive the highest number of enquiries in March after couples have discussed their plans in January.”
Here at Informed Choice, we haven’t recorded a noticeable increase in divorce-related financial planning enquiries at this time of the year, despite the popularised ‘divorce day’ phenomenon.
We would however suggest seeking professional advice from an Independent Financial Planner alongside specialist family law advice, for anyone who is considering divorcing their partner.
Co-op Legal Services have shared five important tips on managing divorce:
- Be prepared: Divorce isn’t easy, it can lead to loneliness, a location change and a drop in confidence, amongst other things. Preparing yourself for what’s to come can make it easier to deal with in the long run. Seek out community groups or new hobbies that may help you to establish a new support network.
- Be sure: Make sure there is no resolution before considering a divorce. If nobody is at fault in the marriage you will need to have lived separately for a considerable length of time, in order for a divorce to be granted.
- What about your name? It’s up to you whether or not you want to keep your married name or go back to using your maiden name after divorce. If you do wish to keep your married name, then you can simply keep using it.
- Judicial Separation is an alternative to divorce and is not so common. The most significant difference between divorce and Judicial Separation is that you cannot remarry.
- Know your rights. When children are involved in a divorce it can become more complicated. If the mother or father of your child is acting in a way that is preventing you from seeing your child, there may be action you can take such as getting a Court Order.