January is the busiest month of the year for couples beginning divorce proceedings. But by choosing to turn to counselling first your marriage does not have to become just another New Year statistic.
Peak season for divorce
Within legal circles January is widely regarded as the peak season for divorce. Statistics vary but the initiation of divorce proceedings in January is typically higher than any other month. The increase can range from 60% to a startling 300% according to some surveys.
Indeed many legal firms have narrowed the January ‘divorce month’ phenomenon down to a specific day – D-Day or ‘Divorce Day’. The Monday of the first full working week after New Year is generally regarded as D-Day in the profession. Christmas stress, January credit card bills, ongoing arguments come to a head during the festive season and January inevitably becomes a release valve for the pressure.
The prospect of a marriage splitting up is a heart breaking one. As providers of marriage counselling and relationship counselling, The Spark work to help couples avoid reaching the stage of believing separation is the only answer. Amongst the media coverage of celebrity ‘quickie’ divorces and aggressive advertising strategies by legal firms, it is completely understandable why many couples think relationship problems can only be resolved by divorce.
Divorce is not the only option
When a couple is facing relationship problems and the very real risk of relationship breakdown, counselling is a realistic and practical solution. Relationship counsellors work with both individuals to discover the underlying issues behind their marriage problems.
By discovering those core issues a couple are then able to work through them with their counsellor. The journey of self-examination and self-discovery often leads to not only a better but vastly improved relationship. This is quite different from couples simply building up their defences ahead of a divorce battle or attending mediation.
Mediation is becoming an increasingly familiar concept. It is however important to understand the very specific role mediation plays.
The difference between relationship counselling and mediation
Meditation does not help a relationship normalise nor deal with the underlying problems. Instead mediation is about negotiating the overall terms of a separation in order to avoid legal battles over issues like child custody and financial settlements. Mediation can be vital for many couples but it is still ultimately a choice that signifies separation is considered inevitable.
Relationship counselling to help your marriage
At The Spark we see a considerable spike in couples seeking marriage counselling in January. In the context of divorce day this is broadly a good thing; these are couples that have not gone straight down the road of divorce or mediation.
Sometimes separation is the only option for a couple. In many cases relationship counselling can still benefit couples by helpling them to divorce amicably. When children are involved the opportunity to cease hostilities through counselling can help to lay a strong foundation for future co-parenting.
On the cusp of ‘Divorce Day’ please consider that if you are experiencing relationship problems, divorce is not the only option. Speak to us and use the extensive knowledge and expertise of our counsellors to help your relationship.
The Spark has been providing relationship and marriage counselling for 50 years. Our team of BACP and COSCA accredited relationship counsellors are specialists in helping couples tackle marriage problems.
With 17 counselling centres across Scotland The Spark is ready and waiting to help your marriage get back on track.
To make an enquiry freephone our enquiries team on 0808 802 0050 or complete an enquiry form.