January is widely acknowledged as the busiest month of the year for divorce. The first Monday of the working week is often nicknamed “D-day” or “divorce day” due to the high numbers of new divorce enquiries.

So, why January? Government figures indicate that 42% of all marriages end in divorce. Of those planning to separate, around one in five couples said they were planning to divorce after one last Christmas together. During the festive season, couples are under increased financial strain. They are also likely to spend more time together, as well as with their extended family or in-laws – which isn’t always welcomed. However, couples feel reluctant to be held responsible for breaking up families during the holidays. It is thought that a large proportion of couples stay together to avoid upsetting their children.

The Scottish economy has now seen two years of continuous growth, with unemployment decreasing greatly. BDO, a leading accountancy and business advisory firm, have predicted that this improvement in the Scottish economy could lead to higher divorce rates. Separating during a recession is sometimes not financially viable, but as household income increases, the property market stabilises and job security improves, it becomes all the more possible for those with insurmountable relationship difficulties to decide to separate.  

New Year is typically a time for reflecting on the past and promising to make positive changes for the future. People often see it as the perfect time for a fresh start. The decision to separate is never an easy one. Undoubtedly, it will cause stress and emotional upheaval, as well as financial worries. However, it is important to seek legal advice at an early stage. 

Jacqueline Stroud, our Family Law Partner, explains, "We recognise that our clients' best interests are usually served by resolving matters amicably without resorting to litigation. We offer a sensitive but practical approach to clients encountering difficulties in their domestic lives. There are a number of ways we would encourage parties to resolve disputes amicably, such as mediation, which helps the parties come to an amicable agreement without litigation.”