Beware the New Year’s Resolution

Divorce ring

With January traditionally being seen as one of the busiest months for matrimonial lawyers, indeed the first Monday of the New Year is nicknamed ‘Divorce Day’, with legal firms up and down the country reporting record numbers of enquiries, it is, perhaps, important that we look at the reasons for this as a note of caution.

However, the enquiry in January is, perhaps, not surprising when you consider that the New Year is traditionally seen as a time for a new start with people making various resolutions. Perhaps a resolution to sort out divorce or sort out relationships, the reality is also true that the great majority of decisions/resolutions made in January fall by the wayside over the next few months. Perhaps, though, it is not surprising that couples find the festive period a difficult one. The run up to Christmas, which is ever more drawn out in the popular press, is stressful and emotional. We are bombarded on our TV screens with images of perfect couples, loving families, all immaculately dressed with perfect smiles and chinking champagne glasses, giving expensive presents.

This image, however, is not the reality of the situation for the vast majority of people. The vast majority of people spend Christmas perhaps cooped up with children running around, falling out, with bickering in-laws, to serve up meals which meet people’s expectations of Christmas feasts. Again, the media portrays Christmas as a romantic time – it is a popular time for proposals – and yet, for the majority of people, Christmas is often a time when fractures in relationships show, simply because the vast majority of relationships do not conform to the romantic ideals that we are bombarded with in the popular media on TV, etc.

Therefore, perhaps a note of caution should be used in instigating divorce proceedings in January. Yes, it can be a time to think about relationships, how they can be improved, but perhaps we all need to be honest about the fact that Christmas is hard and it is normal for there to be some marital disharmony. The way that you feel about each other in early January may not be an accurate reflection of your relationship during the rest of the year. Perhaps there should just be a note of caution before leaping into a ‘New Year - New Divorce’, but rather taking a period of time to reflect on matters.