Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

January Divorces: A Spike in Post-Holiday Filings

The month of January has been dubbed "Divorce Month." Between the months of January and March, divorce filings spike across the country. The first quarter of the year reportedly accounts for one-third more divorce filings than the rest of the year.

As the chaos of the holidays begins to subside and life resumes a normal pace, data trends indicate that this is the time when couples are most likely to seek legal counsel and begin divorce proceedings. But why is this time of year so popular for divorce?

Keeping a United Front in the Face of Family

The holidays are likely one of the main reasons people wait until January to pursue divorce. For couples who will be spending hours with extended family members whom they don't see very often, worrying about explaining their marital problems around the dinner table can be overwhelming. People often prefer to grin and bear holiday family functions as a couple.

One Last Holiday with Everyone

Besides saving face or avoiding awkward conversations with family members, many couples choose to stick it out through the end of the year because they want to enjoy the festivities with members of their spouses' families. As is true in many divorces, the couple is often aware they won't interact with their soon-to-be-ex spouse's side for much longer. Holding out through the holidays may allow everyone to enjoy the occasions and create memories of their last Christmas, Hanukah, or other celebrations together.

Couples who have children are often motivated to stay together until the New Year arrives out of a desire to give the kids one last Christmas as a family.

Minimized Office Hours

The holidays tend to be characterized by fewer working days, meaning both the courts and attorneys' offices are less available than normal. Additional delays between the time of filing and available court dates can cause additional stress on divorcing couples. Many prefer to wait until office and court schedules resume standard hours to ensure the process moves through the pipeline as quickly as possible.

No matter what trends the data shows, you don't have to follow suit. If divorce is necessary, you should pursue it on a timeline that works best for you and your family.

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