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08 Jun 2021

21% more divorce applications in March than January, dispelling January divorce month myth

The number of divorce applications filed in the month of March is 21% higher than January, dispelling the belief that January is peak divorce month*, says Boodle Hatfield, the leading private wealth law firm.

From 2003 to 2020, there were 219,778 divorce petitions filed in the month of March, the largest number of petitions filed by month across the period.

January has often been cited in the media as being the busiest month for divorce lawyers, due in part to New Year’s resolutions to end unhappy marriages and warring spouses rushing to file after spending one last Christmas together for the family’s sake. In fact, January has the second lowest number of petitions filed (182,080) after December (147,706).

After March, July is the second most common month for divorces with 206,033 applications filed, followed by June (204,986).

Boodle Hatfield says divorce applications often coincide with school term times rather than the calendar year.

Emily Brand, Partner of the Family Law team at Boodle Hatfield says: “The much-peddled theory of January being the most common month for divorces is a myth.”

“It’s true that January can be a difficult month for couples who aren’t getting along well. Pressures around the Christmas holidays can lead to heightened tensions but this doesn’t necessarily lead to spouses filing for divorce immediately.”

“The most popular months for divorce align with school term times. This could be largely due to parents wanting their separation to have as little impact on their children as possible and to ensure that any calls with their lawyers and paperwork are carried out discreetly while the children are safely at school”.

*Ministry of Justice, Number of divorce petitions filed in England and Wales, 2003-2020.

Divorce applications peak in the month of March*

21% more divorce applications in March than January, dispelling January divorce month myth imge