Family lawyers bracing themselves for busy new year

editorial image
Share this article

Leading family and divorce lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office are bracing themselves for another busy January as the New Year period is traditionally one of the busiest months for enquiries.

The first working week of the year is traditionally a time when family lawyers receive an increase in enquiries for many lines of work including divorce and issues involving children.

The Irwin Mitchell team saw a 10 per cent rise in all instructions in January 2013 while divorce enquiries were up 25 per cent against an average month.

Specialist lawyers at the firm already have appointments booked with clients who have been considering an official break-up for months and see the New Year as the ideal time to make a new start.

The Family Law team at Irwin Mitchell also expects to receive a number of ‘distress’ calls from people who have had a turbulent festive period with their partner and from parents having had issues with contact with their children over Christmas.

Peter Morris, an expert family and divorce lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, said: “It’s a sad fact that in January many divorce lawyers have their busiest period, but it is a myth that everyone who comes to see us has made a sudden decision to split over the Christmas holidays.

“While there will be a number of distress calls from people who have suffered from problems such as extreme arguments and contact with children, the majority of people who contact us will do so calmly having been thinking about the decision for a while.

“In most cases it is not an easy decision for people to contact a divorce lawyer but they see the New Year as a chance to make a new start and many may have already spoken to lawyers informally over the past few months.

“Reasons for divorce vary widely whether people have had a difficult Christmas period, have been planning a break-up for months or perhaps older couples growing apart due to empty-nest syndrome. January often brings the promise of a fresh life away from whatever problems they may have faced before.”

There are over 100,000 divorces each year, but with around half of these involving children, Peter says that most clients start the process with an emphasis on separating amicably.

He added: “There is desire from every direction to see divorces carried out in a fair and amicable manner. Family law judges are very keen for couples, especially parents, to try to resolve disputes before resorting to court proceedings. At Irwin Mitchell we have qualified mediators or collaborative lawyers in every office.”

“All relationships are different and each individual divorce or separation has different issues whether amicable or not. The important thing is to seek professional advice early so that the right course of action can be agreed, especially where children are involved.”