January 8, 2008 / 12:01 AM / 11 years ago

UK lawyers buried in broken marriages on D-day

LONDON (Reuters) - Nearly two million Britons considered ending their marriages over Christmas and the massive number who took the next step have prompted lawyers to dub the first Monday after New Year’s “D-day.” Divorce-day that is.

The stresses and strains of the festive season can often be the final nail in the coffin for many marriages, according to online advice Web site InsideDivorce.com, which found that nearly one in five are on the rocks and could end in divorce.

“Christmas in isolation doesn’t cause divorce but strains the relationship, it brings out things that have been festering for a while,” InsideDivorce.com Editor Derek Bedlow said.

“There are just so many opportunties for things to go badly - from rowing about which in-laws are coming to dinner to discovering a loved one has misbehaved at an office party. It’s a relationship minefield,” he told Reuters.

InsideDivorce.com surveyed 100 law firms and 2,000 couples who cited infidelity as the biggest cause for splitting up with the holiday party season the peak time for cheating. Women instigate three quarters of the divorce proceedings at this time of the year, InsideDivorce.com said.

Almost half of the couples surveyed by InsideDivorce.com said their sex lives had fallen flat, with one in 10 admitting that their partnerships were entirely sexless.

Insidedivorce.com also cited separate research by the government-funded Family Mediation Helpline, which estimated that 1.8 million couples will have contemplated divorcing their partner over the Christmas holidays.

British relationship advice service Relate found that far from being the season of good will, this year’s extended holiday period (Dec 21 - Jan 6) was filled with acrimony and despair for many. Relate said calls to its support centres rose by 50 percent over the two-week long Christmas and New Year break.

“With busy lives these days, couples tend not to spend so much time together, so when you have the Christmas break as long as this one you have more time to learn the reality of the situation,” said Christine Northam, a counsellor with Relate.

Although the divorce rate in Britain is on the slight decline, the number of weddings is also in decline, meaning the true rate of long-term couples splitting up is unknown.

The five top reasons given for seeking a divorce in the InsideDovorce.com survey were:

Infidelity (42 per cent)

Abuse (34 per cent)

Boredom (29 per cent)

Lack of sex (22 per cent)

Financial disagreements (22 per cent)

Editing by Paul Casciato

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