In wake of the recent economic slump, more UK couples are heading towards divorce, and the most likely date for them to put a legal stamp on their separation is January 12, claim lawyers.
Many estranged couples, according to lawyers, have stuck together over the past year to calculate whether they could afford to go their separate ways when the economy is heading into recession.
And now legal experts have predicted that the couples will stick together for one last Christmas as a family and then split up the Monday after their children go back to school.
In fact, a record number of separating spouses are expected in the New Year as the rising unemployment rate and the crumbling housing market puts relationships under greater strain.
The revelation comes just weeks after academics claimed that a 10 per cent drop in property prices leads to a 5 per cent increase in the divorce rate.
"We believe January 12, 2009, the first Monday after children return to school, will be D-day - divorce day," The Telegraph quoted Shelley Hesford, of Cheshire law firm SAS Daniels, as saying.
She added: "We get more calls in the first few days of New Year from couples wanting to separate or divorce than any other time of the year - and the reasons behind divorce are often, though not always, based on money problems having pushed a relationship to breaking point. And it's blindingly obvious that a large part of the population has money worries.
"We've also had a considerable number of enquiries from people who have been asking about the divorce process but said they will be thinking things through over the Christmas break.
"From first contact with one of our solicitors to the instigation of proceedings has been, on average, around two or three times as long in 2008 as in any previous year.
"In our experience, and going on the evidence of previous years, combining those factors means we can expect far more appointments than in recent years from couples who believe their marriage is beyond repair.
"This has been simmering for most of 2008. People have been delaying for a number of reasons - sometimes it's simply a worry about the cost; many are concerned that divorcing when house prices are plummeting means they'll lose a great deal of money from what they view as an inevitable sale.
"Of course the key factor for many is their children - we know of a surprisingly high number of couples who are having, very sadly, one last family Christmas together before mum and dad split up."