The number of divorce applications filed in March was 21 per cent higher than January, dispelling the belief that January is peak divorce month.
From 2003 to 2020, there were 219,778 divorce petitions filed in the month of March, the largest number of petitions filed by month across the period, according to Ministry of Justice data analysed by law firm Boodle Hatfield and shared with City A.M. today.
Busiest month for lawyers
January has often been cited in the media as being the busiest month for divorce lawyers, due in part to New Year’s resolutions to end unhappy marriages and warring spouses rushing to file after spending one last Christmas together for the family’s sake.
In fact, January has the second lowest number of petitions filed (182,080) after December (147,706).
After March, July is the second most common month for divorces with 206,033 applications filed, followed by June (204,986).
Boodle Hatfield said divorce applications often coincide with school term times rather than the calendar year.
“The much-peddled theory of January being the most common month for divorces is a myth,” said Emily Brand, partner of the family law team at Boodle Hatfield.
“It’s true that January can be a difficult month for couples who aren’t getting along well. Pressures around the Christmas holidays can lead to heightened tensions but this doesn’t necessarily lead to spouses filing for divorce immediately,” Brand told City A.M.
“The most popular months for divorce align with school term times. This could be largely due to parents wanting their separation to have as little impact on their children as possible and to ensure that any calls with their lawyers and paperwork are carried out discreetly while the children are safely at school,” she added.