Couples most likely to file for divorce in March – over 11,700 divorces filed on average every March

by | Mar 25, 2023

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The month in which couples are most likely to file for divorce is March, with an average of 11,700* applications for divorce filed in that month versus an annual average of 10,600, shows a new study from leading private client law firm, Forsters that looks at divorce data over the last 20 years.

January is typically seen as the month most associated with divorce. Forsters says that, while it is the case that couples often decide to end their marriages in the new year, most don’t file for divorce immediately. Rather, they may make initial enquiries with a family lawyer in January, with the filing of the divorce petition not taking place until March.

Another reason for this is that couples with children are more likely to file for divorce during the school term, when it is least disruptive for the children. Conversely, they are less likely to divorce during school holidays, where they may decide to ‘keep the peace’ for the sake of their children. Months in which school holidays most often take place, December (8,100), April (10,100) and August (10,400), all have fewer divorce applications than the annual average of 10,600.

December is the month with the fewest applications for divorce, with 8,100 on average, 31% less than the annual average of 10,600. Couples with children often avoid filing for divorce around Christmas in particular to give the children one last family Christmas, or to avoid causing arguments and stress during the holiday.

Simon Blain, Partner at Forsters, says:
“Couples that consider divorce after Christmas will often file in March after taking legal advice. They will often make enquiries with family lawyers in January and work to see if there is any way of repairing the marriage, then eventually file their divorce petition a few months later.”

“The lead up to the Christmas period, not to mention the event itself, can be a stressful time for many couples. After one last Christmas together for the sake of the children, they may decide to go their separate ways.”

“Quite often parents will wait until a time they consider least disruptive to file for divorce. When children are at school, calls to lawyers can often be carried out more discreetly than during the holiday period.”

“Parties thinking about divorce should know that reaching out and talking to a family lawyer doesn’t mean the process has begun. An exploratory discussion on the options available is a worthwhile move.”

March is the most common month for divorce applications

*Data from FOI request to Ministry of Justice


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