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Divorce Day needs a rethink

By Mal Fletcher - posted Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Here in the UK, Monday January 5, 2015 was branded Black Monday. Various press and media outlets called it Divorce Day.

This was the day when enquiries about divorce were expected to peak across the country.

In recent years, legal firms dealing with divorce have come to expect a record number of enquiries on the first Monday of a full working week in January. Apparently, at this time of year couples who were under strain before Christmas seriously begin to consider a permanent split.


Arguably, assigning tags like 'Black Monday' may bring much needed attention to what is a major social problem. However it may also trivialise divorce, encouraging people to look favourably on the opportunity to break with their partners and families.

This year, the Relate marriage guidance service expected a 50 per cent rise in the number of calls to its crisis telephone lines on Black Monday.

According to Ruth Sutherland, the chief executive of Relate, this is partly because Christmas throws people together in a way that can bring simmering marital issues to a head.

She adds: 'New Year is a time when many of us naturally assess how life is going and this can make people think about their relationships.'

Apparently, this type of post-festive marital review doesn't end well for a good many people. Forty-two percent of marriages in this country end in divorce.

Four million British children will have spent this Christmas with only one of their parents, according to the Marriage Foundation.


The Relationships Foundation estimates the cost to society of broken relationships to be £46 billion per year. The greater cost, of course, is the untold toll on the psychological, emotional and physical wellbeing of adults and children.

The opportunity to trivialise the problem with tags like 'Divorce Day' is exacerbated by the cultural context at this time of year, where all manner of similar tags are used to promote pre- and post-Christmas sales.

In the lead-up to the festive season last year, for example, we heard a great deal about 'Black Friday'.

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This article was first published on 2020PLUS.NET.

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About the Author

Mal Fletcher is a media social futurist and commentator, keynote speaker, author, business leadership consultant and broadcaster currently based in London. He holds joint Australian and British citizenship.

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