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What to expect in the New Year

As we move forward into a new year, and indeed a new decade, you may be considering some changes regarding your relationships. If you have decided to make some major life changes, this blog post can help with what to expect in the New Year in relation to these.

Divorce and Separation

Divorce and Separation

The decision to separate or divorce is never made lightly, and each separating couple will have their own personal cocktail of reasons for determining that their relationship is no longer viable.  Many of those reasons, commented on below, surface around the festive period, leading to the common rise in new year separations and divorces.

Although perhaps not as widely experienced as the media portrays, “divorce week” is considered to be the first week of the new year – the zenith of separating couples reaching out to solicitors for guidance and help following their separation.

Of course, people rarely contact a solicitor out of the blue. Separation has ordinarily been on their radar for a while. January is the time for resolutions and fresh starts – the spur somebody needs to grasp the nettle and make the difficult leap of ending a relationship.

But what else might prompt them to do so?

  • The new year is preceded by Christmas extravagance and the financial pressures associated with the festive period is often a further strain on troubled relationships.
  • Increased drink and drug consumption over the festive period is often a reported stimulus in increased arguments and disputes, also linked to increased reporting of incidents of domestic abuse.
  • While “unreasonable behaviour” is frequently relied upon as the most common basis for the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage, the festive period is also frequently the cause of a surge in extra-marital affairs associated with Christmas party liaisons.
  • Without the distraction of work and busy careers, it is perhaps also the novelty of simply spending too much time with one another over the festive period is enough for others to reflect on difficulties in a relationship or an unhappy marriage.
  • Anecdotally, it is common to hear of parties electing to stay together for the “children’s sake” and perhaps considering whether it best to have “one last Christmas” for them to enjoy before the act of separation and divorce begins in the new year.



Disputes over arrangements for children over Christmas is often a catalyst to disputes on contact arrangements that come to a head in the new year. Separated couples with a sense of unease about the festive arrangements for the children will often seek to act proactively in the new year to prevent a repeat of unsatisfactory arrangements for the following Christmas.

Civil Partnerships

To end on a more positive note, it is also worth nothing that this festive period sees changes in offerings available to the law surrounding civil partnerships. Civil partnerships were introduced by the Civil Partnership Act 2004, originally relating to same sex couples only. related only to two people of the same sex. However, from 2 December 2019 the Civil Partnership (Opposite-Sex Couples) Regulations 2019, come into effect and the eligibility criteria in the original 2004 legislation will be amended to allow opposite-sex couples to register a civil partnership in England and Wales if they wish.

If you would like to discuss matters concerning your separation, divorce, issues relating to your children or a civil partnership, or what to expect in the New Year in relation to these, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Philip is a Resolution member and formed part of the campaign to support no fault divorce proceedings. Philip is also contributor to the legal and national media on family law issues.

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