Traditionally, the first working day after the Christmas and New Year break is one of the busiest of the year for divorce lawyers. It has come to be known as D-Day, with D standing for divorce.
With divorce rates on the up for the first time in seven years, divorce lawyers are gearing up for a frantic new year.
“We are expecting to be tremendously busy in January” says Donna Tilbrook, senior partner in the Sheffield law firm Best Solicitors. “Throughout 2011 we have seen an increase in the number of new divorce clients. Clients who we have seen throughout the year will often use Christmas as a time of reflection, and the New Year as an opportunity for a new start. If they decide that the marriage is not going to work, they will come in and speak to one of our team.”
Data published by the Office for National Statistics shows the number of couples getting divorced increased by 4.9% from 2009 to 2010. With the cost of living continuing to rise, families on fixed incomes are feeling the pressure and this trend is set to continue into 2012.
Wendy Bailey, head of the family law department at Best Solicitors says that married couples with children are less likely to instruct solicitors immediately before Christmas. “Often, separating couples do not want to spoil Christmas for the children. Instead, they will make appointments to see a solicitor in the New Year, once they are back at work and the children are back at school”.
So as another festive season comes to a close, and three days into those New Year resolutions soon to be forgotten, D-Day 2012 could well be set to be the busiest on record.