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No glad tidings for some as hundreds file for Christmas divorce

Being able to spend time with a partner or spouse over Christmas is something many couples look forward to, particularly with today’s hectic lifestyles.

Not everyone though finds Christmas to be a time of glad tidings. In fact, 455 people filed an online divorce application between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. And 13 found the holiday period so stressful that they ditched the turkey and crackers to apply for a divorce on Christmas Day itself.

Many couples will wait until after the holiday period though and today is known as ‘Divorce Monday’, a day when law firms typically see a surge in people who plan to break-up after having to ‘endure’ the Christmas holidays.

David Kirkman, family law solicitor at Atherton Godfrey, commented: “Christmas can be something of a balancing act – trying to keep expenditure under control and trying to keep everyone happy. That along with spending extended periods of time together can naturally be the source of friction between couples.

One of the problems with online divorce applications is that they can often be completed in the heat of the moment and regretted later, proving very costly as the payment has already been made. My advice would be to take time to cool off before making such a serious decision.

Another issue is that many people do not know their rights on divorce and may end up losing out financially. “

There are many myths surround the divorce process. For example:

I’m his common law wife so don’t need to worry financially
Married people and those in civil partnerships have financial claims over such as child maintenance, property and pensions. Unmarried couples have far more limited rights and in some cases, no right to claim anything at all.

They were cheating, I’ll get everything
As unfair as it may seem, adultery or unreasonable behaviour doesn’t make any difference as to how assets are divided following divorce. Only a criminal offence such as murder of the spouse, or actual bodily harm resulting in a prison sentence is likely to have a bearing.

I can get a quickie divorce
According to newspapers, Cheryl Cole was got a divorce in 14 seconds – a bit of a headline spinner. Choose who you are, it generally takes between 6 months and a year to end a marriage.

We are consciously uncoupling
This may be fine for A-listers, but it is not possible to divorce on this basis in England and Wales. Until no fault divorce is approved by parliament, if you are divorcing within 2 years of marriage, one party has to be ‘blamed’ in the petition, even if the separation is perfectly amicable.

Grounds for divorce
If the marriage has irretrievably broken down you must be able to prove one of the following:
• Adultery
• Unreasonable behaviour
• 2 years separation – with consent
• 2 years desertion
• 5 years separation – without consent

Considering divorce?
Take time to find out exactly where you stand and what you are entitled to. You can speak to our friendly experienced team, in complete confidence and without obligation – contact 01302 320621 or email

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