Solicitors bust divorce day myth as couples await law shake-up

Couples would do well do wait and divorce in April, solicitors advise. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Couples would do well do wait and divorce in April, solicitors advise. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

With the biggest shake-up to divorce laws in five decades only months away, Suffolk couples are choosing to delay proceedings according to experts. 

January is fabled to be home of 'divorce day', the first working Monday of the month where solicitors see a rise in couples seeking to end their marriage.

But solicitors in and around Suffolk say the day is a myth and more couples this year are choosing to delay the process until April 6 when the ‘no fault’ divorce comes into effect.

It is considered the biggest change to divorce law in fifty years. 

“Many people are coming to us for advice and saying, actually, I don’t want to pick a fight unnecessarily, I’d rather wait,” explains Georgina Rayment, who is partner and head of family at Prettys Solicitors in Ipswich. 

Georgina Rayment is the Partner and Head of Family at Prettys Solicitors.

Georgina Rayment is the Partner and Head of Family at Prettys Solicitors. - Credit: Stillview photography

Currently, to have grounds for divorce a person must blame their spouse in some way for the breakdown of their marriage, for reasons such as adultery, desertion, or unreasonable behaviour.  

“You have to be very personal and critical,” explains Georgina, “whereas after April, they can have a far more amicable and amenable divorce process. 

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“What’s also nice about it is, a couple can make a joint application for a divorce. So, the system where one person has to point a finger towards the other person will be gone.” 

Anna Cross, the managing partner of Sadler Cross Family Law which covers Ipswich, Essex and areas of London, agrees with this.

She believes that this change in the law is “well overdue,” and that proportioning blame is unhelpful and “very out of date.” 

Anna Cross is the Managing Partner at Sadler Cross Family Law.

Anna Cross is the Managing Partner at Sadler Cross Family Law. - Credit: Mark Coventry. www.markcoventry.

She continues: “Sometimes, people just fall out of love and there’s no reason to assign any blame. Attributing blame at the start of the matter often gets things off on the wrong foot. 

“Now, proceedings can be easier and hopefully more amicable, which will have a positive effect when we’re helping clients deal with issues relating to their children and finances.” 

The so-called ‘divorce day,’ says Georgina, is a “myth."

“We’ve never had a particular day in January when enquiries are noticeably higher,” agrees Anna. “It’s more the case that enquiries overall in January are higher than most months.” 

This is an unfortunate consequence of couples spending extended periods of time together, they explain, with divorce inquiries also increasing during the Covid lockdowns and after the summer holidays.