current affairs lifestyle

Divorce day, January 7th

One of the most important things I’ve learned in the last few months is that everything is interconnected. You can’t look at environmental sustainability without finding yourself dealing with social and economic sustainability too.

To whit, lawyers refer to January 7th as D-day, because this is the busiest day of the year for filing for divorce. It’s the first working monday, and people have had the whole of Christmas to wind each other up as they queue up and down the motorways to visit each other’s families.

“Too much yuletide togetherness can prove disastrous for those already under stress,” writes Judith Woods in the Times, “the festivities serving to accentuate rather than mend the cracks in the relationship.” The relationships charity Relate sees a 50% rise in calls over the Christmas period, and divorce lawyers start the new year with a spring in their step, perhaps.

According to, the leading factors in divorce are as follows:

Infidelity, 42%
Abuse, 34%
Boredom, 29%
Lack of sex, 22%
Financial rows, 22%
Alcohol and drugs, 22%
Debt, 17%

In the light of recent posts on debt, items 5 and 7 are interesting in that list – January is the worst time for relationship breakdown. January is also the worst time for debt. Christmas is a dangerous thing.

More reasons to Cut up your credit cards, and simplify your Christmas.


  1. Jem,

    not really a comment on this post (those figures are scary, aren’t they), but the interconnectedness idea made me think of this guy – have you read any of Andrew Goudie’s work? He is a brilliant geographer at Oxford and has argued at length about human impact on the environment (and the relationships between the two). E.g. there’s a free e-book (a slightly simpler intro) on google books:,M1

  2. Wow. I never realized that. I ended my own marriage on Feb 1 because I didn’t want to deal with a breakup over the holidays. January was SO stressful.

  3. I wonder if part of it isn’t just holiday stress, but also New Year’s Resolutions. Or a lot of people having sworn to themselves or their friends, “if things haven’t improved by the end of the year, I’m getting a divorce.”

  4. A friend commented that if people had a couple of weeks to start work again and get back into a routine, perhaps they would reconsider their decision. Obviously for a lot of people the Christmas stress is the final straw in a struggling relationship, but for others it could be quite impulsive. I wonder if the numbers would fall a little if the lawyers started work two weeks later.

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