Dark nights, cold weather, credit card bills and a long wait until that summer holiday of your dreams.  These are all reasons why January can be a long and low month for many across the UK, but for some there will be added pressures at this time of year with a relationship breaking down.

The Changing Landscape of Marriage & Divorce

1.8 million couples contemplate divorce during the Christmas break, sparking a 50% increase in telephone calls to leading charity Relate who offer relationship and marriage counselling.  And it seems to be the wives who are making the first move towards divorce with 75% of divorces at this time of year initiated by unhappy wives – who on average will be just shy of their 35th birthday at the time.

The reasons? Perhaps the added financial pressures Christmas brings combined with wider on-going economic troubles – research shows that unemployment and downturns in the housing market are often linked to family instability.  If you look toward the top reasons for divorce for answers you’ll find little change in the last 40 years. Whilst adultery often tops tabloid headlines for the demise of celebrity divorces the leading contributing factor continues to be spousal behaviour.

Once divorce proceedings are initiated, factors we may often not think about can come in to play.  For example, what happens to the beloved family pet? It can certainly be a bone of contention with 20% of those divorces involving a pet result in a contested divorce.

The emerging trend is unfortunately one of relationship breakdown – where marriage has declined in the past 50 years and divorce has risen.

Stephens Scown’s family and divorce solicitor Cornwall are top ranked by the two independent guides to the law, Chambers and The Legal 500.