WHILE February may be the month of love, January appears to be the month of divorce.
At least that's according to lawyers - and we all know the saying that they're the only ones who win out of divorce proceedings - who see a spike in requests for divorce advice as the new year dawns.
The spike is driven by the Christmas period stresses highlighting relationship issues, people using the new year start to reassess their life and for those with children, using the month to put their partner situation in order prior to the start of the new school year.
Slater and Gordon family lawyer Mona Emera said while the spike was concentrated mostly in the first days of January each year, the high level of inquiries continued throughout the month - and even into February.
"The term 'Divorce Day' has become quite common, but it's really more of a 'Divorce Month', if anything," Ms Emera said.
"For example, the number of family law appointments we scheduled in January 2015 was 31% higher than our national monthly average for that financial year.
"That spike continued into February 2015, with a figure 19% above average, while appointments in February last year were 40% above our financial year 2016 monthly average."
The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures state that the number of divorces in Australia have been relatively consistent over recent years, with only a 4.3% increase between 2014 and 2015, up to 48,517 divorces.
During 2015, the highest rate of divorce was among men aged 50 to 54, with divorces granted to 8.5 men in every 1000 in that group. Women in the same age range similarly saw 7.2 per divorces per 1000 people.
The numbers of divorces granted dropped quite steeply from there for the older age groups, with only 1.8 divorces per 1000 men aged 65 and over, and 0.8 divorces per 1000 women in that same age range.
Ms Emera recommended getting legal advice before going public with any decision regarding divorce.
"It is important to understand the legal and practical consequences of separation before you start the formal process," Ms Emera said.
7 TIPS TO MINIMISE THE PAIN OF DIVORCE
- 1. Seek professional help if you are finding it difficult to cope.
- 2. Talk to friends and family and make use of existing support networks, but be careful what you say.
- 3. Keep things civil.
- 4. Get legal advice.
- 5. Get financial advice.
- 6. You should seek legal advice before leaving your home.
- 7. Keep a diary of relevant dates and events.