Debunking the myth of "divorce day"
9 January 2018
The Brief (from The Times)
Yesterday was "divorce day" or "D-day", according to some really bright spark law firm PR merchants, but increasing numbers of family solicitors are describing the term as little more than marketing hype.
The first full working Monday of January is claimed to be the busiest for divorce specialists as the end-of-year celebrations climax with animosity between married couples, boiling over to the point where one or both rush to lawyers and issue divorce proceedings.
While this is an entertaining picture replete with War of the Roses-style images of wives wielding turkey legs as they attack irritating husbands, the figures do not actually live up to the billing.
Tony Roe, the founder of Tony Roe Solicitors in Reading, wrote in a recent blog that the origins of D-Day could be traced back at least ten years to various media reports. Roe castigated Relate, the "relationship support" charity, for jumping on the bandwagon this year.
He pointed out that "lawyers are pretty keen on evidence, by and large. It goes with the territory. Why then do they give credence to such a myth? Stories about this 'Manic Monday' for divorce seem to have increased in number over the last ten years or so as this supposed 'event' ingrains itself in the media calendar. But don't blame the journalists. Most family law solicitors do little or nothing to dispel the myth. Instead, we queue up to be quoted."
The reality is that "most experienced family lawyers would say that the number of client enquiries drops during school holidays. Perhaps this is because individuals focus on their offspring rather than problems in their own relationships," he wrote, adding that D-Day, if such a phenomenon existed, "should occur when the schools reopen, rather than being at the start of the first working week of the new year, which may not coincide".
Meanwhile Jo Edwards, a partner at the London law firm Forsters and a former chairwoman of Resolution, the family lawyers organisation, said bluntly that D-Day "isn't borne out in reality". She pointed to figures from last year showing that 25.6 per cent of all petitions were issued between January and March, but 26.7 per cent were issued between April and June. "This doesn't support the suggestion of a huge January spike," she said.