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Divorce parties are gaining popularity across the UK as couples search for a way to mark the end of their marriage.
Getting a divorce is a major life event, but unlike birthdays and christenings, there's no formal way to observe the occasion. And that's where the divorce party comes in – just as a wedding celebrates the start of a married union, a divorce party formally signals its close.
Divorce parties are well known in America, and they have travelled across the pond to take root in Britain. These days divorce parties are no longer extraordinary. In fact, a character in the BBC television soap EastEnders threw a divorce party as far back as 2011.
The concept has even fuelled a whole new industry, and new divorcees wanting to hold parties can find handbooks, a host of party decorations and even an etiquette guide.
But under all the 'newly unwed' presents, cakes, badges and balloons, it's easy to lose sight of why someone may have a divorce party in the first place. The reason for many is to say thank you to their loved ones who have got them through this difficult period.
Although divorce rates are decreasing in England & Wales, the fact still remains that tens of thousands of people face a marriage breakdown every year. In 2015, over 110,000 divorce proceedings were started.
For those going through a separation or divorce, the experience can be extremely traumatic. The emotions felt can be very similar to a bereavement, as many people tend to go through the same stages of grief.
But despite this, there is very little emotional support available when getting a divorce, except for that shown by family and friends. A divorce party gives the divorced person the opportunity to show their appreciation, bringing together all the people who have been there for them – during the good times and the bad.
Tracey Moloney, Head of Family Law at Co-op Legal Services said, "Divorce parties are becoming more and more popular. Lots of people are now taking the opportunity to thank their friends and family for the support they have shown throughout the divorce process. Typically they are seen as a way to signify the couple beginning a new chapter in their lives, but they are also seen as a way to heal disagreements amongst family and friends."
"On occasion the divorced couple can host the party together and it's a way of telling their friends that they need not choose sides. They can be a very positive step forward and can be considered a way to allay the blame attached to the end of a marriage."