Is January the Busiest Month for Divorce Attorneys?

Attorneys who practice family law may refer to January as “divorce month.” Based on my experience, more people decide to divorce in January than any other month during the year. Divorcing during the holidays is a prevalent theme for many divorce attorneys.

Holiday Divorce Reflections and Time for Introspection

I have a few theories as to why more spouses decide to call in quits in January, as opposed to March, May or any other month. I believe that the holiday season makes all of us take a good look at ourselves, and we spend more time being introspective. As humans, we believe that holidays should be full of merriment, bliss and happiness, and when we feel sadness, angst and generally, uneasy, we question why we feel this way, especially when others seem to be so happy during the holidays.

Some Theories as to Why More People Separate/Divorce During the Holidays.

1. Delaying the Inevitable to Save Christmas

In speaking with friends and clients, it seems that many unhappy spouses seem to come to the realization that they are heading for divorce somewhere around Thanksgiving. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the decision to divorce solidifies, and to soften the blow to the other (usually unsuspecting) spouse, the leaver (the one who wants the divorce more than the other) decides to wait until after the holiday season. This seems especially true when there are children involved. Parents don’t want their children to associate future Christmas holidays with the date their parents divorced.

2. Fiscal Timing

Some attorneys speculate that more people file for divorce in January because they’re concerned about taxes and filing jointly, since December 31 marks the official date of the last day of taxes for the previous year. Maybe, but I doubt it, especially since the IRS has specific rules regarding filing jointly and separately for divorced spouses.

3. New Year’s Resolutions

January is the beginning of a new year. For many of us, it means setting new goals and resolutions. For unhappy spouses, it may mean taking stock of what was not so great about the previous year and setting goals to change things, including marital status, for the upcoming year. High-conflict marriages seem to unravel completely during the holidays as tensions rise.

If you decided to separate or divorce in January, what were your reasons for doing so?

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