DIVORCE rates are soaring in Wigan – the sad result of family strains over the festive period.
Solictors across the borough are seeing double the amount of clients in January, after couples are ready the make a new start. Figures from Goddard Smith Solictors, in Ormskirk Road, Pemberton, show that on average, each month, it would have initial appointments with 15 people, but in January and February around 30 consultations are made.
Solicitor Mark Smith, at Goddard Smith, said: “I think couples on the verge of separation see it through the Christmas period and then it tips them over the edge.
“The social pressure to enjoy Christmas as a family forces many couples to wait until the New Year, as they do not want to spoil this time for their children.
“Quite often there are a lot of considerations such as having to spend time with family they never usually see and all the extra stress of preparation for the big day, such as cooking dinner and buying and wrapping presents, which is usually put on the women. The New Year is a time many of us assess our lives and relationships. This can result is some wishing to initiate a new or fresh start, which can mean terminating a marriage which they feel is no longer working.”
Research from Relate relationship support service shows it has experienced an increase in calls, with 10,608 calls in December and 19,138 calls in January.
Gill Lavelle, who specialises in divorce law at Goddard Smith Solicitors, added: “Taking the steps to divorce your partner is a momentous decision and one that is easier faced when you are aware of your rights.
“Seeing a solicitor will allow you to understand not only the divorce process but in respect of your financial position and what you are entitled to following your separation.
“We offer 30 minute free appointments and would strongly recommend that people take the advice even if they do not decide to go forward at that stage.
“We are here to help and support in this difficult time.
“Strong warnings are given however in signing any paperwork without legal advice as some clients have effectively signed their rights away unknowingly.”