Fewer couples are expected to file for divorce on this year’s ‘Divorce Day’ compared to previous years, say experts, as people likely decided to separate while living together in the first lockdown of 2020.

The first working Monday of the year has become known as ‘Divorce Day’ as couples seek legal help to separate, following heightened tensions in close quarters over the Christmas and New Year’s break. 

Research conducted by Co-op Legal Services found a 250% rise in inquiries through 2020 compared with 2019, with a pronounced spike since the pandemic hit the UK in March 2020.

Family law export Edward Cooke revealed that divorce inquiries had trebled after the UK’s first lockdown period between June and October, and that the pressure of isolation may have impacted on existing vulnerabilities:

“I don’t think people’s relationships are breaking down because of the pandemic, but people with pre-existing problems have seen the pandemic highlighting the fissures.’

However, he also noted that the figure was lower during lockdown itself, and many couples may have successfully worked through their issues while isolated during lockdown.

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