Monday January 8, 2007
Guardian Unlimited


More Britons will initiate divorce proceedings today than on any other day of the year, according to a new study.

A survey of 100 divorce lawyers by the website, which launches today, found that Christmas was often the final nail in the marital coffin, leading to a surge in the number of people instructing solicitors in the new year.

The divorce lawyer James Stewart, of Manches LLP, said: “Extra time together can force problems that already exist in the relationship to come to a head. We’re expecting this to be our busiest day and indeed our busiest week.”

A poll of married, divorced and separated people for the divorce advice website also found that nearly a fifth of couples in Britain were on the brink of splitting up and one in 10 said they no longer had sex.

Of the 2,000-plus respondents, 16% said their marriage was “on shaky ground”, while another 2.5% said it was “on the rocks”.

The main provocation for divorce was infidelity, with more than a quarter (27%) saying the tipping point in the marriage was discovering their partner was having an affair.

More than half (54%) said they had discovered their partner’s infidelity for themselves, a fifth of unfaithful spouses confessed, 4% said they were told by the other man or woman, while 1% were told by a letter or text message.

The second most common reason for ending a marriage was falling out of love – cited by nearly a quarter (22%) of those polled.

One in six women (15.9%) and 6% of men gave a serious incident of abuse as the reason for a marriage breaking down.

Nearly half of those surveyed said their sex lives had decreased, with men citing “lack of sex” as the biggest factor in marriage breakdown.

Fay Rowe, the editor of, said: “It is worrying that sex – not having it or having it with someone other than your partner – is the main catalyst for divorce. It suggests we are no longer satisfied with having one partner in

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