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New Year, New Start: Advice for Couples

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FDR Law provides practical advice for couples facing divorce in 2016 

FDR Law has confirmed it is facing its busiest January yet for divorce appointments. With the first Monday in the New Year widely reported as “D-Day”, the day when most divorce petitions are issued in England and Wales, it seems there is no slowing down in the current trend, with D-Day set for January 4th in 2016.

Jennifer Roulston, Partner & Divorce Lawyer at FDR Law, Warrington, agrees; “Sadly, our figures show that the January divorce spike is no myth. Every year we see a marked rise in enquiries and instructions from individuals, with next year being no exception. Many appointments were made in November and December by people who were already planning to start the divorce process in the New Year, while others may have found Christmas so challenging that they have decided they just want to make a fresh start.”

Christmas holidays place increased stress on couples, with the combination of increased expenditure and time off together bringing relationships into sharp focus.  Calls to Relate's national phone line rose by 53 per cent on the first Monday of January 2014 compared with the first Monday of December 2013, with appointment bookings increasing by 86 per cent.The trend shows the majority of couples hold it together over the Christmas period, perhaps for the sake of their children before finally decide to get the ball rolling once the festivities are over. 

Another factor affecting this year’s number of divorces will be the strengthening of the economy. Says Roulston: “People tend to stay together when money is tight, but once the economy starts moving and people are in more a stable financial position, they are more confident to take the steps to financial independence.”

If you’re considering divorce proceedings in 2016, Jennifer Roulston recommends some steps to help you get started:-

  • Know your assets. If you can gain an understanding of what your joint assets are before you start any divorce proceedings, it helps in the long run if couples are clear about their financial circumstances at the start of the process it can save a lot of time and effort
  • Take advice from a solicitor at an early stage. Says Roulston: "Separating a couples’ financial and family affairs can be a lengthy and painful process. But if you can seek help and advice from an expert at the beginning, it can be far less stressful as the solicitor can take the strain. I want clients to walk into my office and allow me to take the weight off their shoulders.”
  • Start the mediation process before the bitterness and anger kicks in. It’s inevitable in divorce situations that relations become strained, and anger and resentment can start to destroy the process of settlement. “My advice to anyone considering divorce is to start proceedings in a civilised way, if possible and have the conversation with your spouse first before issuing proceedings,” says Roulston.
  • Don’t fear the finances. In a couple, there’s normally one person who assumes financial control, so for those who have never dealt with the finances, it can be overwhelming.  But by spending time with a solicitor, it can be a straightforward and liberating process and once tackled it gives individuals peace of mind. 

If you’re considering separation and need further advice, please contact Jennifer Roulston, Partner & Divorce Lawyer at FDR Law on 01925 230000.