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Is January really “divorce month”?

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2022 | Divorce

January is the start of the new year and new resolutions. For some, this means going to the gym more often or losing weight. Perhaps there are professional goals to work toward or major projects around the home that have waited long enough. January is also known as a month when couples get divorced. This is not entirely true – even simple divorces take longer than 30 days to negotiate, file paperwork and make other necessary arrangements.

Nonetheless, there are specific reasons why there is a surge in the number of people who reach out to a family law attorney after the first of the year. There are pragmatic reasons, such as waiting for the holidays and the accompanying festivities to end before telling a spouse or parents sharing the news with the children. The holidays are supposed to be the best of times where families gather, but not seeing an improvement in the marriage (or seeing it get worse) during these better times can also be the final straw that broke the camel’s back. Perhaps money is an issue, and holiday spending made it clear that the situation was not sustainable.

It is actually seasonal

January’s reputation was initially built on evidence that lawyers saw an uptick in inquiries after the first of the year, with some reporting a 25% to 30% increase in cases each January. The trend even carries over to Britain, where a survey of 2,000 couples revealed that one of five planned to divorce after the holidays were over.

However, January is only the beginning. According to a recent University of Washington study, there is a marked increase in January, but it climbs through to March, which had higher numbers. The rate goes back down by mid-April and more or less stays that way until the end of summer. September sees another spike after families do their big summer trips and the kids are back in school. After that spike, numbers then trend steadily downward until the end of the year.

Picking the right time

Big annual events like the holidays and summer travel are rightfully sacred to the family, but different families have different family traditions and schedules. The time before April 15 may also benefit couples organizing their finances for filing taxes, thus providing an easy opportunity to make copies of everything for an attorney. While it is essential to take immediate action if a spouse does not feel safe, regardless of when the realization comes to them, some planning makes sense, and it can start in January.