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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

Let’s do away with D-Day

There is some debate over exactly when D-Day – or Divorce Day – falls. Some suggest it is the first working day back after new year, which would have made it January 4 2011. Others suggest it is in the second full week after new year, when people have had time to think about their decision in the cold light of day, find an appropriate family lawyer and decide that they cannot go on as things are.

It could be that the whole first week is seen in some quarters as some sort of National Divorce Week.

Whatever the exact date, relationship experts agree that the stress of Christmas and new year can prove to be the final straw for some couples, making early January a boom time for divorce solicitors.

However, I don’t think this should be celebrated or anything to be proud of. While some family lawyers may be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospects of new clients, I would rather not see this annual rush. Instead, more efforts should be devoted to helping couples who are going through a rocky patch to work out their differences.

There are ample resources out there for people looking for guidance, Relate perhaps being the most well-known one. Couples counselling is increasingly popular. Ultimately, it may not necessarily reignite the relationship, but that doesn’t mean that it has failed. Through simply meeting an estranged partner and being able to sensibly talk through practical issues, such as how to divide the assets and finances, the sessions can be chalked up as a success. And that can help significantly reduce the cost of divorce and the time it takes to finalise arrangements.

I feel we should be investing more in making people aware of these facilities, helping people to overcome problems, where possible, rather than revelling in the fact that we have a day in early January when applications for divorce peak. It would be nice to go back into the office after the Christmas break without a string of answerphone messages from people wanting to start divorce proceedings.

So it doesn’t matter when D-Day is. What we should be concentrating on is burying this sad commemoration once and for all.

Andrew Woolley
Divorce solicitor


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