Why Do Divorce Filings Spike in January?

You might assume that divorce filings are fairly uniform throughout the calendar year. After all, it’s not like the average person looks at their day planner to determine the best time to file for divorce.

However, it turns out that certain times of year tend to show spikes in divorce filings. A report released by researchers at the University of Washington in 2016 shows that divorce filings in Washington State between 2001 and 2015 consistently peaked in the months of March and August annually. This led researchers to speculate that domestic rituals, such as holidays and school breaks, could play a role in the timing of divorce filings.

If this is the case, it lends credence to the concept of the so-called “divorce month” of January, which tends to account for the most legal filings for divorce overall. Why, exactly, do divorce filings spike in the first month of the year?

End-of-year holidays can be stressful, to say the least. There’s a lot of pressure to make the holidays perfect, including decorating the house, purchasing scads of presents, and entertaining family and friends. Even families that are well-adjusted and well-off can feel the pressures of this busy, expensive, and stressful season. Parents that are already dealing with a contentious situation can suffer irreparable damage to their relationship.

While it would be considered antithetical to file for divorce during a family holiday season, despite irreconcilable differences in a marriage, there’s no reason to maintain the charade once the winter holidays have passed and the new year has begun. In addition, many people place high expectations on times of family togetherness.

Couples may reason that spending quality time together as a family over the holidays could somehow repair a broken relationship. However, this is wishful thinking. For one thing, serious relationships problems require adult conversations and perhaps counseling to repair. When you throw on the stress and impossible expectations of the holidays, the situation is likely to get worse rather than better. Hence, a spike in divorce filings in January.

One of the biggest problems consistently affecting couples is finance, and this can reach a peak during the holidays, when seemingly obligatory spending is at an all-time high. Couples unable to manage their finances well throughout the year could find themselves facing serious debt by the time the holidays are over. This stressful situation can be enough to finally cause some couples to throw in the towel when the new year arrives.

New Year, New You
While holiday stress and financial issues are more likely to cause divorce than a New Year’s resolution, there’s no discounting this time of reflection and the impetus it can provide to make major life changes. Some people want to lose a few pounds or lower their cholesterol. Others want to climb out of debt and save for the future. Some just want to start clean with a divorce.

Regardless of your reasons for filing for divorce in the new year, you can benefit from the sound legal advice and expert assistance provided by the professional attorneys at The Gucciardo Law Firm. Call today at 248-723-5190 to get started.

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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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