It's Divorce Day

Today marks another year of “Divorce Day” and while it may not seem like a celebration, many couples see it as an opportunity to start a new life with the new year.

Monday 8th January

Today is known as Divorce Day in the UK because of the significant increase in number of applications that are filed to solicitors. It is normally the first day back to work after Christmas. The “real life” reality sets in, the bills start landing on the doormat and a number of people can find the effects of debt and stress finally take their toll on their already-fraying relationships.

Since the no-fault divorce law came into play on 6th April 2022, we’ve also seen further seasonal spikes at this time of year as it become easier for couples to separate.

Divorce without blame could increase separations

Prior to 6th April 2022, a divorce could only be granted if it fitted one of five conditions, which generally reflected unreasonable behaviour, adultery or desertion. However, campaigners fought for a long time to recognise that sometimes marriages break down for reasons beside these.

The new Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 now allows couples to divorce without assigning blame. We’ve heard from many clients who have benefitted from this new law, saying they felt freer to leave unhappy marriages they had previously felt trapped in as the relationship had broken down without fault. Not only does this have a severe impact on the wellbeing of the couple, it was also having a detrimental effect on their families.

No-fault does not mean no pain

We did want to draw attention to the fact that no-fault does not mean the divorce process is any quicker. Since the no-fault divorce law came into play, we’ve seen a number of organisations pop up advertising “quick” or “easy” divorces – but the reality is, there’s no such thing.

For example, a divorce may deal with your separation, but it may not take into consideration any future changes to your financial circumstances – you will need a separate application for that. If not, your ex-spouse could be entitled to claim on any windfalls, like a lottery win, or even an inheritance. Make sure you have everything you need to start your new life in the right way.

So don’t be tempted to opt for a “quick” divorce service as these can prove to be costly in the long run – but there are a few things you can do to help the divorce process run more smoothly.

Keep communications open

Talking can be a great healer but if you do decide to file for a divorce, open communications will be much easier for a clean break - and save a lot of heartache.

Agree a way forward

If you can, try and talk through things like where you might live and any temporary childcare arrangements.

Appoint a solicitor

Even though divorce is very common, it is still a complex area of the law and you will need a solicitor who can help guide you every step of the way.

It is a busy time of year for couples seeking divorce, so the more you can do help keep everything running smoothly the better, but you can still expect some delays as solicitors deal with an increase in workload.

If you would like some advice relating to your own separation, civil partnership dissolution or access to children, contact the Family Law team at Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.