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Lawyers brace for ‘divorce day’ as stressed couples split after Christmas

Talking it out: Family lawyers recommend couples strive for an ‘amicable split’ PICTURE: ALAMY

WITH the turkey long gone and the wrapping paper in the bin, lawyers are today braced for another festive tradition — ‘Divorce Day’.

Solicitors are generally flooded with divorce inquiries on the first Monday back to work after the Christmas break. Thirteen people even applied on Christmas Day using the Ministry of Justice’s new online system.

The stress and cost of trying to make Christmas perfect are cited as the main reason for ending marriages at this time of year. Too much time with a spouse’s relatives, receiving disappointing gifts and alcohol loosening tongues — allowing for frank opinions — are other triggers for tension.

Amanda Rimmer, a partner and family law expert at Stephensons Solicitors, said some couples decide on a fresh start during Christmas itself. Others delay action until the festivities are over. ‘Clients have cited anything from hogging the duvet to racking up store card debt in the sales as a contributing behaviour to marriage breakdown,’ she said. She advises clients to get organised and strive for an ‘amicable settlement’, especially when children are involved. Family lawyer Laura Naser, of Penningtons Manches Cooper, said: ‘If your marriage is on the rocks, now is likely to be crunch time.’

Early January also sees a huge surge in online dating as lonely hearts make a New Year resolution to look for love.

‘Singles Sunday’ yesterday was predicted to be the busiest in the history of online dating. More than half of singletons aged 18 to 34 have vowed to kick start their love life, according to dating app Match.

A quarter say they were inspired by reality TV dating shows such as Love Island. One in ten plans to be more positive and go on more dates, rising to one in six of 18- to 34-year-olds.

Match’s dating expert Hayley Quinn advised lonely hearts to have a ‘positive mindset’.

She added: ‘The important thing is that you have the power to make the changes you want to see.’