Is January really National Divorce Month?

At this time of year, it’s always somewhat unedifying for a selection of supposed important divorce lawyers (i.e. those with expensive PR consultants) to appear in newspapers and talk on TV about the increase in the number of Divorce Petitions issued in January.

It was always my view that the reason for this was self-evident. Where there are children, it’s less likely that one parent is going to ‘ruin’ Christmas by issuing a divorce petition in December.

So, the start of January tends to see the issue of proceedings for those who would’ve issued in January, plus those who decided not to in December. It’s not the case that the Christmas break caused the bubble.

Helpfully, the Ministry of Justice issues a statistics bulletin. The latest bulletin, published on the 26th September 2013, shows the following statistics for the issue of divorce petitions:*

  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
January to March 32 35 35 34 31
April to June 32 33 29 30 32
July to September 35 35 35 31  
October to December 32 30 31 29  

*Numbers are 000s

Unfortunately, the figures are only published quarterly. So, without monthly figures, it’s impossible to be completely accurate.

But, as you can see above, the first quarter in 2010 saw as many petitions issued in the third quarter of 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Yes, there’s something of an increase in the first quarter of each year from the last quarter of the preceding year. But the first quarter figures of any year are pretty much the same as the third quarter in the same year.

So much for a Christmas induced bulge, eh?

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