TORONTO — The new year will be the beginning of the end for couples across the globe, including here in Canada, as many look to sever ties with their significant others.
The first Monday back from the holidays is known as “Divorce Day” in Great Britain, where divorce lawyers are greeted with a sharp increase in inquiries from the public about ending their relationships.
“It’s like a New Year’s resolution,” said lawyer Andrew Feldstein, founder and managing partner of the Feldstein Family Law Group.
“I find that there are 20 to 30 per cent more initial contacts [from the public].”
Psychologist Nicole McCance said it is not surprising to see so many unhappy couples seeking to split this month.
“Number one, the holidays are over; number two, it’s often a New Year’s resolution to make changes; and number three, for some people it’s ‘I can’t bear going through a whole other year of this,’” she said.
When it comes to overall divorce rates globally, Canada is near the middle of the pack with 48 per cent. Belgium has the highest rate at 71 per cent, and Mexico has the lowest, with only 15 per cent.
Within Canada, the Yukon has the highest divorce rate at 59.7 per cent, and Newfoundland and Labrador enjoy the lowest at 25 per cent. In Ontario 42.1 per cent of marriages will end before they reach their 30th anniversary according to Stats Canada.
Sandra Epstein is a Toronto mother celebrating the one-year anniversary of her divorce this month.
Though she officially separated from her husband about this time last year (rather than getting the process started), she says December and January impart a natural sense of closure.
“It just worked out with the family. My daughter was in university and she was coming back for the Christmas holidays. And we have a son at home and we wanted to make sure we could tell everybody together, so we timed it just at Christmastime,” said Epstein.
Divorce Angels is a new service providing resources and guidance for both men and women enduring the stressful, often acrimonious, process of splitting up. Even they have seen interest jump on the first Monday back from the holiday slumber.
“We had over 350 new users since eight this morning, and a lot of interest in our blog,” co-founder Marni Sky said.
But the vast majority of divorces (95 to 99 per cent) will be settled out of court according to statistics provided by the Feldstein Family Law Group.
The process is most often started by women and reasons for changing course vary.
“People can say they’ve grown apart, adultery can be a reason, it can also be financial issues,” Feldstein said.