National Divorce Day
01 January, 2016
‘Divorce Day’ could keep lawyers busier than ever this January 4th
‘Divorce Day’ lands on January 4th this year and lawyers across the UK are expected to be kept especially busy.
Following the stresses and strains of the Christmas season, the first working Monday of every year has become the day that lawyers see a peak in enquiries regarding getting a divorce. As a result, it’s now widely recognised as Divorce Day.
Andy Cullwick, Head of Marketing at First4lawyers, says: “Family law enquiries regarding a divorce are usually double the amount around this time and in late January too.
“According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of divorces in England and Wales in the last 30 years, however rates have started to drop. In fact, numbers of marriages are on the rise and latest ONS data shows double the amount of marriages than divorces.”
Google search volumes show that, last year, 33,100 searches were made for the word ‘divorce’ in the UK in January last year – more than any other month.
And when you take into account terms such as ‘how to get a divorce’ and ‘divorce solicitors’, 40,860 searches were made by people looking for advice on how to move forward with a divorce.
Andy Cullwick adds: “January is the busiest time for us in family law, however enquiries and search data is nearly just as high in February too. We saw on average 33,580 users search Google for terms related to divorce around Valentine’s last year and unfortunately we expect similar numbers again this year.”
Although January is the peak time for divorce enquiries via solicitors and in searches online, the latest numbers from the Office for National Statistics show that the total number of divorces as a whole have, in fact, fallen from 2012 to 2013 in the UK: there was a 2.9% decrease, from 130,473 to 126,716.
Additionally, according to a more detailed ONS breakdown, the total number of unions have actually seen a steady increase in England and Wales from 2009 to 2012, starting at 232,443 and reaching 262,240.
When comparing divorces to marriages in England and Wales we are seeing a huge difference. For example, in 2005 there were 141,322 divorces compared to 247,805 weddings, which is a proportion of 57%. More recently in 2012, there were 118,140 couples who ended it while 262,240 tied the knot, so just a 45% share were calling it quits.
It’s clear in the graph below that attitudes toward giving up on your vows have wildly changed over time. Back in the day, divorces were practically non-existent, before peaking in the early ‘90s, which is around 20 years after marriage numbers started to nosedive.
(ONS, number of marriages and divorces, 1933 to 2012/2013, England and Wales)
It’s also worth bearing in mind that children are often affected by divorce as well. Out of the 114,720 divorces in England and Wales in 2013, a massive 55,323 (48%) were between couple who had children. The positive side, however, is that this is the lowest number since 1971, when 42,039 marriages with children ended in divorce.
Nevertheless, Divorce Day 2016 could still see a record number of people enquiring with solicitors about the potential of getting a divorce – whether they actually go through with it, however, is another matter.
Andy Cullwick says: “We can only assume the interest around divorce in January is due to people wanting a fresh start. January is the time for New Year’s resolutions, when many organise their lives and plan for the future ahead. It seems that many keep quiet at Christmas for the family and wait until January to enquire about a divorce.”