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Research reveals festive triggers have landed some couples in divorce courts

New research reveals that 22% of couples in the Yorkshire & Humber area admitted that this past Christmas was either going to make or break their marriage.

The survey, which questioned married people ahead of the Christmas countdown, found that 22% of couples in Yorkshire & Humber say they were giving their marriage ‘one last go’ over the festive period.

21% of people in Yorkshire & Humber were worried about the extra pressure that Christmas would place on their marriage, with 15% believing that this Christmas would be their last as a married couple. Of those who expected to start 2015 with a trip to the divorce courts, 22% of couples in Yorkshire & Humber had already agreed to give their children their best ever Christmas before starting proceedings.

The study, released by QualitySolicitors, the UK’s leading network of solicitors also identified the key ‘Divorce Drivers’ which appear to result from the pressure of the festive period. The QualitySolicitors Top Tips advising people how to prepare for a divorce can be found at our Divorce page.

After the research uncovered that so many marriages across Yorkshire and Humber were at breaking point, QualitySolicitors created some top tips for those set to arrive at the difficult decision to start divorce proceedings this month.

The top 5 listed by people in Yorkshire and Humber were: -

  • Christmas Socialising- 53% said that their partner’s festive socialising is likely to play a part in them considering a divorce
  • Family Finances - 52% said they think that family finances could become a source of conflict within their marriage
  • Families & In-Laws - 45% said they expect wider families to be a source of conflict - with an interfering mother-in-law top of the list of concerns
  • Keeping the Children Happy - 40% of couples expect arguments over supervising their children to contribute to divorce
  • Poor Christmas Gifts - 34% admit that their partner’s choice of festive gift could contribute toward their decision to file for divorce in 2015

‘Divorce Drivers’

44% admitted that disagreements over how to spend the family finances contributed to their decision to file for divorce in the New Year. 17% said that ‘additional financial stress’ at Christmas was likely to drive their relationship to breaking point and another one in ten  were worried that their partner wouldn’t contribute sufficiently to the family finances.

Socialising over the festive season was a factor that drove couples across Yorkshire and Humber head for divorce courts in January.  One in five (21%) said they were worried that their partner might cheat on them at a Christmas party.

Issues with wider families were one of the divorce drivers, with 37% of married couples expecting that family politics to play a part in them deciding to divorce.  An interfering mother-in-law is a common source of tension, with 11% admitting this could contribute toward a split. Another source of frustration seemed to be arguments over where they spent Christmas Day, with 18% saying they expected this to cause tension.  

Deciding to Divorce at Christmas

The period between Christmas and New Year was the time most likely to see couples arrive at the decision to divorce, with 48% saying this is the time they would be most likely to arrive at the decision. Sadly 10% admitted that Christmas Day was the day that tensions came to a head and would lead to the decision of starting divorce proceedings in 2015, with a further one in ten, 8% arriving at the decision on Boxing Day.

Gender Differences across the UK

Across the UK, the importance of Christmas presents highlighted the biggest difference in gender attitudes to the factors that could lead their marriage to break down.  Men proved more materialistic than women, with 43% saying their partner’s choice of Christmas gift impacted their decision whether to start divorce proceedings, compared to just 34% of women. Similarly, men seemed more likely to have already arrived at the decision, with 20% of married men saying they had already expected last Christmas to be their last with their spouse, compared to just 12% of women.

Divorce Fears

In spite of all the factors that can trigger divorce proceedings, concerns still remained amongst couples across the region, who were considering embarking on the process. 14% of people across Yorkshire and Humber say they are worried about the likely cost of a divorce, 11% felt sad that their marriage had ended this way, with 16% saying they felt nervous speaking to a solicitor face-to-face. In order to overcome the awkwardness of an initial consultation, 33% admitted they would feel less nervous if some of the process could be conducted online.

Sue Rands, Partner and Head of the Family Law Department, at QualitySolicitors Bradbury Roberts & Raby, said: “Sometimes the festivities don’t go quite as planned. Time and time again we find that the pressures and expense of Christmas has often been the last straw for many couples, leading them to file for divorce in January.  The emotional impact upon children, who have witnessed conflict within the home over the festive period, cannot be underestimated.  So, if you feel you have the reached the point of no return for yourselves or your family, please contact us for a free consultation.”

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