Divorce Monday - Is It Really A Thing & Why?

sarah ryan
Sarah RyanAccount Manager @ Lawhive & Non-Practising Solicitor
Updated on 8th February 2024

If the national news was anything to go by last year, 2023 was set to be a bad year for married couples. Among other things, like skyrocketing inflation and the rising cost of living, it was predicted that divorce rates were set to reach the highest levels since records began


This depressing prediction was in part attributed to the introduction of ‘no-fault’ divorces in April 2022, which removed the requirement for separating spouses and civil partners to give ‘grounds’ for divorce

So, did this gloomy prediction come to pass? In this article, we’ll look at the recent divorce statistics for 2023 to find out. 

2023 Divorce Statistics in the UK

According to statistics from the Family Court, there were 28,865 divorce applications made between January to March 2023. A 5% decrease from the same quarter in 2022. Furthermore, between April to June 2023, there were 24,624 applications, a decrease of 30% from the previous year. 

The data shows that the predicted surge didn’t come quite as expected. 

Amidst the holiday cheer and family gatherings, a peculiar notion has recently surfaced: Divorce Monday. But is it a genuine trend or merely a catchy phrase? 

For married couples who've contemplated the surge in divorce inquiries after the holiday season, our exploration of Divorce Monday aims to reveal the reality behind this intriguing phenomenon.

In this article, we discuss:

  • The concept of Divorce Monday;

  • Its emergence;

  • The factors that might make it more than just a myth. 

What is Divorce Monday

Divorce Monday is often used to describe the surge in divorce inquiries and filings that typically occur in the aftermath of the holiday season, particularly during the first Monday in January. 

Divorce Monday is based on the notion that the holiday season, emphasising family, togetherness, and reflection, can strain some couples. Prolonged time spent together during the holidays can bring underlying issues to the forefront, leading individuals to consider divorce.

When is Divorce Monday 2024? 

Divorce Monday 2024 should fall on the 8th of January 2024 since it is the first working day of 2024. 

Why Do Divorce Inquiries Go Up After Christmas

The increased divorce inquiries following the holiday season can be because of various factors. While it's not necessarily that couples suddenly "hate" each other after spending Christmas together, the post-Christmas surge in divorce inquiries is influenced by several key factors:

1. Holiday Stress and High Expectations: The holiday season, despite its joyous reputation, often brings a considerable amount of stress. Couples may face pressure to create the perfect celebration, meet family expectations, and ensure everything runs smoothly. This stress can amplify existing marital issues.

2. Extended Time Together: During the holidays, couples usually spend more time together than usual. While enjoyable for many, this can also expose underlying relationship issues that may have been easier to ignore the rest of the year.

3. The New Year's Resolution Effect: With the start of a new year, many individuals view it as an opportunity for a fresh beginning. Couples contemplating divorce may initiate the process as part of their New Year's resolutions, contributing to the post-holiday surge in inquiries.

4. Delayed Decisions: Some couples postpone divorce discussions during the holidays to maintain a sense of normalcy for their families. This postponement often leads to a backlog of inquiries in January.

5. Financial Pressure: The costs associated with holiday expenses can add financial strain to a marriage. The realisation of excessive spending or monetary disagreements during the holidays can become a tipping point for some couples.

6. Reflection and Reevaluation: The reflective nature of the holiday season can prompt individuals to reassess their lives and relationships. This close inward inspection can lead to a desire for change and, subsequently, more divorce inquiries.

Divorce Statistics 2023

According to Forbes, some key divorce statistics for 2023 include:

  • Cohabiting couples have a higher divorce rate than those who don't. Statistics reveal that 57% of couples who didn't live together before marriage had a lasting marriage of 20+ years, while only 46% of cohabitating couples can say the same.

  • More than 70% of couples lack an understanding of marriage realities and stages. Couples marrying during the “honeymoon stage” or without counselling may face challenges when the romance fades.

  • Only two countries, the Republic of the Philippines and Vatican City, prohibit divorce to preserve the sacredness of marriage as an enduring spiritual and legal bond between spouses.

  • Contested divorces can take over a year to finalise, while simple divorces may only require three months. On average, couples spend around $7,000 to dissolve their union.

  • Many divorced individuals don't give up on marriage. 64% of men and 52% of women remarry after their first marriage ends.

  • Women are more likely to initiate divorce, with nearly 7 in 10 marriage dissolutions initiated by females. This is based on research on heterosexual couples. Women often shoulder the mental load in a relationship and take on the primary caregiving role for children. The added burden, notably when their support system is lacking, could explain their higher likelihood of initiating divorce.

In 2019, the divorce rate for women over age 15 was 7.6% per 1,000, marking a significant decline from 9.7% per 1,000 in 2009.

  • Hinduism has the lowest divorced population. With 60% married, only 5% are divorced in this group.

  • 70% of children live with married parents. However, the number of children living solely with their mothers has significantly increased. In 2020, 21% of children lived only with their mother, compared to 11% in 1968. The number of children living solely with their fathers has also increased. In 1968, only 1% of children lived alone with their fathers, while in 2020, this number rose to 4.5%.

  • 15% of married couples report signing a prenup. Having a prenuptial agreement in place simplifies the divorce process by providing clarity on critical issues. Couples can agree on these matters before marriage when working together is easier.

  • However, only 42% of adults support premarital contracts, and in 2010, only 3% of married couples had one. For those who choose not to use a prenup, finding a qualified divorce attorney is crucial to protect their rights during the dissolution of their marriage. An attorney can also guide the drafting of a fair and enforceable prenuptial agreement.

  • College-educated women are more likely to have long-lasting marriages. Earning a degree significantly reduces divorce rates, while an incomplete college education correlates with lower marriage longevity. For example, 78% of women with a bachelor’s degree have marriages lasting at least 20 years, compared to only 49% of women with some college education. Additionally, only 40% of women with a high school education or less reach the 20-year milestone.

  • The divorce rate for white couples is 15.1%, while their marriage rate is 32.1%.

  • Black couples have a divorce rate of 30.8% and a marriage rate of 17.3%.

  • Hispanic couples have a divorce rate of 18.5% and a marriage rate of 33.2%.

  • The average age of divorce in 2022 is 46 for men and 44 for women. As people age, the likelihood of experiencing divorce increases. 42% of individuals aged 45-54 have been divorced. This is understandable, as it takes time to marry and for the relationship to unravel.

Contact Lawhive to get help with your divorce

So, Divorce Monday, while often perceived as more of a media catchphrase than a formal statistic, sheds light on the notable surge in divorce-related inquiries in the early weeks of January.

If you find yourself needing any help and advice related to getting divorced, including whether you can get a divorce online, whether you need a solicitor to get a divorce, or any other area of family law, get in touch with our legal assessment team today.

They will assess your case and provide clear next steps, along with a fixed fee quote for the services of our expert network of UK solicitors.

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