A High street retailer is to introduce a divorce gift list service to cater for the growing numbers of people saying “I don't” rather than “I do”.
Debenhams said its Divorce Gift List service is being launched today amid a reported spike in couples deciding to divorce after the festive period.
The firm added it came at a time when “congratulations on your divorce” greetings cards had gathered in popularity alongside divorce celebration parties complete with divorce cake, famously held by celebrities such as Jordan, Gail Porter and Heather Mills.
However, Lindsay Conway, director of social services in the Presbyterian Church who co-ordinates marriage counselling within the church, said couples should be able to work through the issues arising from divorce without such commercialism.
He said: “I find it very bizarre that someone would send something out to people they know saying their divorce absolute is due the following Wednesday and include a gift list.
“I suppose it brings up the whole point of commercialism and there is some research which says more people are now talking about their upcoming wedding as their first marriage and the church would be determined from that point of view that all support should be given and all attempts made in counselling, although it does not encourage couples to hang on in there when there is no hope left.
“However, to celebrate that which has broken down, I just find it very bizarre.
“The tragedy of it is that people should be able to work through the progression and carve out a niche and create a new life for themselves. Yes there should be relief but it should not be a celebration.
Peter Moore, head of retail services at Debenhams said: “With so many couples now living together before they marry, the Wedding Gift List concept is now regarded as more of an upgrade service, rather than stocking up the first home with the basics.
“However, a divorce means that one partner will be leaving the marital home and therefore be left without any essentials in their new house.”
The retailer said items expected to be popular included: cookware, cutlery, crockery, glasses, bed linen, towels, small lectrical goods such as toasters and microwaves.
Mr Moore added: “Divorcing can be an expensive time and registering for a Divorce Gift List means that family and friends can help the newly separated begin their new life.”
The retailer has run its Wedding Gift List service for more than a decade. The average couple includes 120 items on their list, totalling £1,500.