D-day for thousands of strained relationships and marriages will be January 12, 2009.
All the signs are there for more break ups than ever before, say family solicitors at Cheshire’s biggest law firm, SAS Daniels LLP – and the first Monday after children return to school is looking set to be a busy one for lawyers: divorce day.
“We get more calls in the first few days of New Year from couples wanting to separate or divorce than any other time of the year – and the reasons behind divorce are often, though not always, based on money problems having pushed a relationship to breaking point. And it’s blindingly obvious that a large part of the population has money worries,” said Head of the Family team at SAS Daniels LLP, which has offices in Stockport, Macclesfield, Chester, Congleton and Bramhall.
“We’ve also had a considerable number of enquiries from people who have been asking about the divorce process but said they will be thinking things through over the Christmas break.
“From first contact with one of our solicitors to the instigation of proceedings has been, on average, around two or three times as long in 2008 as in any previous year.
“In our experience, and going on the evidence of previous years, combining those factors means we can expect far more appointments than in recent years from couples who believe their marriage is beyond repair.
“But there is likely to be a great deal of hidden heartache – co-habitees living as a married couple are equally likely to split, but the statistics won’t show that.
“Nevertheless, there are still issues over children, property or money – and it can often be even more complicated because married couples and co-habitees have different right and responsibilities.
“Still, we believe January 12, 2009, the first Monday after children return to school, will be D-day – divorce day.
“This has been simmering for most of 2008. People have been delaying for a number of reasons – sometimes it’s simply a worry about the cost; many are concerned that divorcing when house prices are plummeting means they’ll lose a great deal of money from what they view as an inevitable sale.
“Some are hoping their problems are a blip, but it’s not as simple as that: a working couple, for instance, may be suffering work worries – or highs and lows – at the same or different times, such has been the volatility of the employment market.
“Of course the key factor for many is their children – we know of a surprisingly high number of couples who are having, very sadly, one last family Christmas together before mum and dad split up.
“’New Year, new start’ is something we’re hearing alarmingly often. But at least the advent of collaborative law – when our specially trained solicitors will help mediate an amicable split – means that most break ups will be as smooth and undramatic as possible, but no less tragic.”
For more information contact the family team on 01625 442100.