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January Divorce Rush Expected

Divorce And Separation After Christmas


A leading family lawyer at Irwin Mitchell says the January ‘tradition’ of rising divorce enquiries is set to continue in 2010 as the recession puts additional stress on families over the festive period.

Divorce Day, or ‘D-Day’, when the most enquiries are usually received is likely to fall on 4 January 2010, the first day of the first full week back at the office.

Elizabeth Tait, partner and head of the Family Law team at the Manchester offices of law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “Christmas is a stressful time for lots of families particularly where a relationship is in difficulties, and sadly it has been reported by the Family Mediation Helpline that 1.8m people are likely to contemplate divorce or separation over the festive period.”

Parent support charity Parentline Plus also expects an increase in calls to its helpline over the Christmas / New Year season. During Christmas 2008, 1,035 calls out of a total of 1,640 calls were made by parents who had split up or were worried about separating from their partner.

Elizabeth said: “Many clients report that spending more time at home during the holiday period can increase tension between family members bringing matters to a head. Others contact us specifically in January because they intend to start the New Year with a fresh outlook on life, and a determination to take control of an unhappy situation.

“There is a common and unfortunate misconception that once solicitors are involved the parties must ‘put their boxing gloves on’. This is not always the case and there are alternatives such as a collaborative approach which is more of a sensitive discussion.”

Collaborative law offers an alternative approach to the traditional adversarial court route allowing couples, with their lawyers, to adopt a less formal approach in dealing with any concerns, such as children, in a sensitive manner.

Irwin Mitchell is also launching its new online service, www.aboutDivorce.co.uk  offering three fixed fee divorce options developed to provide the public with a low cost quality divorce package. The service is aimed at couples who are splitting up amicably and are confident they have agreed the terms of the divorce. Trials have shown that the new service, which has differing levels of service depending on the clients’ needs, will prove popular.

Elizabeth comments: “Our clients have told us that they would like to use an online service. With AboutDivorce.co.uk clients can choose the option that is best for them depending on their individual needs, budget and circumstances. The service is provided by our team of national family law experts so people can be reassured they are getting a quality divorce package, handled with sensitivity and professionalism by lawyers with many years of experience.

Elizabeth adds: “The most recent national statistics for divorce, released in August 2009, show that divorce is at its lowest rate for 26 years; whether that trend continues may be reviewed when ‘D-Day’ dawns.”