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Divorce Day: why do couples get divorced after Christmas

The twinkling lights, the aroma of festive meals, and the joyous laughter of loved ones—the holiday season paints a picture of warmth and togetherness. However, for many couples, this period marks the end of their relationship. The days following Christmas see a significant uptick in divorce filings.

In this blog, as a family lawyer with years of experience, I aim to explore this phenomenon and the intricacies of why couples choose to part ways after the holidays. Read on as I offer practical advice for those contemplating a new chapter in the New Year.

Understanding Divorce Day

The phenomenon known as “Divorce Day” refers to the surge in divorce filings that occurs in the weeks following Christmas. We’ve observed the number of divorce inquiries double around this time and then in late January, and often, they are people we have previously seen and would like to go ahead.

While the reasons are diverse and complex, a few common themes emerge. The holiday season often serves as a time for reflection, and couples may find themselves facing unresolved issues that the festivities have overshadowed.

Unmet Expectations:

The pressure to create a perfect holiday experience can be overwhelming. Couples may have differing expectations about how the holidays should unfold, leading to disappointment and frustration. Unmet expectations can bring underlying issues to the surface, prompting individuals to reevaluate the compatibility of their relationship.

Financial Strain:

The financial strain associated with holiday expenses can exacerbate existing tension within a marriage. Couples may find themselves facing post-holiday bills and stress, intensifying disagreements about financial management. This added pressure can contribute to the decision to pursue a divorce.

Family Dynamics:

Spending extended periods with family during the holidays can highlight existing tensions between spouses. Conflicting family traditions, unresolved conflicts, or differences in parenting styles may become more apparent, prompting couples to reconsider the viability of their relationship.

New Year, New Beginnings:

The start of a new year often symbolises a fresh start and the opportunity for personal growth. Some individuals may view the post-holiday period as an ideal time to embark on a new chapter in their lives, free from the constraints of an unhappy marriage.

What to Consider When Contemplating Divorce

Contemplating separation is undoubtedly a challenging and emotionally charged process. You can navigate this journey with greater clarity and empathy by approaching it with reflection, open communication, and professional guidance. Remember that every situation and relationship is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Whether reconciliation or separation becomes the chosen path, the goal is to foster growth, understanding, and the well-being of everyone involved.

1. Reflection and Open Communication:

Before initiating any major decision, take the time for introspection. Reflect on your own feelings and concerns, and encourage your partner to do the same. Open and honest communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship, and it becomes even more crucial when contemplating separation. Share your thoughts, fears, and aspirations, fostering an environment of understanding and mutual respect.

2. Marriage Counseling:

Seeking the guidance of a professional marriage counsellor or therapist can be instrumental in navigating the complexities of separation. A neutral third party can facilitate constructive conversations, help you both process emotions, and provide tools for effective communication. Professional marriage counselling can serve as a valuable resource in fostering personal growth and, in some cases, even revitalising the relationship.


3. Legal Consultation:

Understanding the legal aspects of separation is vital for making informed decisions. Consult with a qualified divorce lawyer to discuss your rights, responsibilities, and potential outcomes. A clear understanding of the legal process can alleviate uncertainties and empower you to navigate the separation confidently.


4. Financial Preparation:

Separation often comes with financial implications. Begin organising and assessing your financial situation, including assets, debts, and shared responsibilities. Consult with a financial advisor to gain insights into separation’s financial impact and develop a realistic plan for your financial future.


5. Child-Centric Approach:

If children are involved, prioritise their well-being throughout the separation process. Maintain open communication with your children and consider involving a mediator to facilitate discussions about parenting plans. Strive for a child-centric approach that minimises the impact of the separation on their lives.


6. Emotional Support:

Surround yourself with a strong support system of friends, family, or even a support group. Separation is emotionally challenging, and having a network of people who understand and empathise with your situation can provide much-needed emotional support.


7. Consider a Trial Separation:

For some couples, a trial separation can be a valuable step in decision-making. This period allows both individuals to experience life apart, gain clarity on their feelings, and assess the viability of a future together. Establish clear guidelines and expectations for the trial separation to ensure a constructive and purposeful process.


8. Self-Care:

Amidst the challenges of contemplating separation, prioritise self-care. Take the time to engage in activities that bring you joy, focus on personal growth, and nurture your emotional well-being. Taking care of yourself is essential for making sound decisions and navigating the complexities of separation with resilience.


How Cath Karlin can help you:

I have witnessed the complexities of relationships and the myriad reasons behind the post-Christmas surge in divorce filings. While the decision to divorce is deeply personal, understanding the common triggers can provide clarity and pave the way for a more amicable separation. Remember, seeking professional guidance and approaching the process with empathy can lead to a smoother transition and the opportunity for a brighter, more fulfilling future.

As a family lawyer, I specialise in helping couples going through divorce and separation. Part of my role is guiding you through all your options in this difficult journey to give you the best possible outcome. As I’ve mentioned, no situation is the same, so every solution is unique; I will be by your side to help you consider the best route for you and your family.


I always believe it’s best to keep divorce out of court if possible. Of course, in certain situations, this is unavoidable. For instance, if, despite best efforts, you can’t negotiate child visitation arrangements or face non-disclosure of financial information by your ex-partner, court may be the only option.

I promote a holistic approach to the divorce process and would always recommend Collaborative Practice or Mediation as the preferred means of dispute resolution. I am a CALM and accredited mediator, acting to facilitate respectful and productive negotiations between you and your ex. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about the divorce process or if you are interested in my services. We can arrange a consultation to discover how I can best help you.