Family mediators in Bradford have said they are on standby to receive on unprecedented number of inquiries from couples who have decided to split after the stress of the Christmas holidays.

The Bradford-based West Yorkshire Family Mediation Service said research has shown January 7 is the date more couples tended to throw in the towel on their marriage than any other.

And all couples seeking divorce must now show they have tried mediation before going to court.

Stephanie Smith, of the service, said: “Early January is always a busy time for us and we are well aware of the pressures of Christmas and New Year on families.”

Mediator Sarah Byrne, of the service, said: “It’s always better for children if parents can agree on planning for the future after separation, and it enables couples to sort out their break-up relatively quickly and without animosity.”

“We work with families from all kinds of backgrounds, from those on legal aid to those with very large pension pots.

“The key is to reduce the conflict in divorce and avoid couples having to go to court.”