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The decision to divorce can be difficult at any time and there are numerous reasons why you may make the decision to separate from your other half, however, in our experience, filing is more frequent at a certain type of year. 

So, when is the most common time of year for divorce?

The New Year – A Time for New Beginnings

As specialist divorce solicitors, we handle dozens of divorce cases each week and the number of this type of enquiry has formed somewhat of a pattern over the years; Generally, divorce applications and enquiries lower in December, only to rise considerably as we enter the new year.  

People don’t usually contact divorce solicitors out of the blue, it is something which has been considered for a while. January is the time for New Year’s resolutions and new starts in life, and that is often the prompt people need to take that formal step of ending their relationship after a difficult few months or years. 

The Christmas period can test relationships for some of the following reasons:


According to the National Statistics Office, alcohol consumption increases on average by over 40% over the festive period and, as we know, alcohol can affect people in different ways. Unfortunately, in some instances, alcohol can lead to increases in argumentative and unreasonable behaviour. 

In the worst cases, this can result in rising levels of domestic violence. The latest police statistics show that incidents of domestic violence are at their highest during the festive period, with experts linking these higher than average statistics with the increase in alcohol consumption. Understandably this can lead to marriage breakups. 

We frequently see women divorcing men due to instances of domestic abuse, however year-on-year we are also seeing more instances of men starting divorce proceedings against their wives following acts of violent or emotional abuse. 

Financial Pressures 

With no extra funds coming into the family household, and December being the month with the highest expenditure, this can put strain on marriages causing arguments, disagreements and in some instances, ultimately separation. 

Increased Time Spent with Family and In-Laws 

Long standing or new family feuds can erupt at Christmas with the pressures of visiting relatives, alcohol consumption, opinionated family members, split loyalties etc… all of which can cause cracks in a relationship or can be the last straw in terms of tolerance breaking and separation occurring. 

Office Party Affairs 

Often a reason we hear why a spouse is seeking grounds for divorce is when an office romance has been fuelled by alcohol during the festive office party. 

Spending Too Much Time Together 

Married couples are together a lot more during the holidays than during the regular working week. With January being a time where most people look to make a change, and December often a time for personal reflection, spending time with a spouse and realising you are unhappy in a relationship can result in the marriage breaking down. 


Staying Together for the Kids 

Our experience shows that partners have often already agreed to go their separate ways, but stay together for one last Christmas with their children rather that cause disruption and heartache during the most special of family seasonal holidays. Our research showed that 29% of people admitted to staying in unhappy relationships ‘for the children’.


Why Do People Get Divorced? 

Due to a lower number of marriages, divorce rates are at their lowest in 45 years. Despite this, many people are still deciding to go their separate ways. 

There are numerous reasons why people decide to get divorced. An Office for National Statistics report has revealed that the most common grounds given on application is ‘unreasonable behaviour’, however separation and adultery are often common reasons also. Desertion is less so. 


Read more about the five main grounds for divorce in the UK by reading our post: What is the Most Common Reason for Divorce?  

For further divorce FAQs, please take a look at our posts: 

What Happens to the House in a Divorce?

FAQ Series: Who Moves Out of the Marital Home?  

Divorce – The Five Minute Jargon Buster 

Alternatively, speak to one of our trained and professional divorce solicitors in Cardiff by calling 0808 178 2773. We’re on hand to answer any question you may have and to help you start legal proceedings only when you feel ready.

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