The next few weeks will be the busiest time of year for UK divorce courts as couples try to cut their losses before or immediately after Christmas.
The Ministry of Justice says it is expecting a surge in couples instructing solicitors to prepare petitions for divorce over the festive period.
Couples who hang on until the New Year will push divorce applications up further, until March, where petitions for divorce traditionally begin to level off.
Ayesha Vardag, a London-based specialist matrimonial solicitor, says the stress of enforced proximity, conflict with extended family and over-indulgence in alcohol can make already strained relationship crack at the seams.
“There is also a sense of ‘New Year, fresh start’ driving unhappy couples into making the leap, sometimes with little knowledge of the consequences,” she adds.
Where divorce proceedings begin amicably, they can turn acrimonious when the main breadwinner realises how much they may have to hand to their former partner.
“They suddenly need to fund two households rather than one and are often horrified by the costs involved,“ Vardag explains.
She advises couples to sit down together and try to reach an agreement between themselves before bringing in the lawyers.
“Particularly where children are involved, an amicable settlement is not only possible but it benefits all concerned,” Vardag says.
“When it doesn’t work, however, couples need expert help to fight through the uncertainties of the law, and hiring a cheap lawyer can be a false economy.”
For further information: www.ayeshavardag.com