Although it might seem unlikely, divorce filings do tend to follow a pattern and you might even say they are seasonal. While people file for divorce at all times of the year, divorce rates see a significant uptick during specific points of the year, and January is one of those points. An experienced divorce attorney may see twice or more the normal divorce filings in January.
Statistics on divorce filings
- According to Barton Goldsmith, January sees the most divorce filings regularly.
- Although the divorce rate is dropping compared to historical rates, 39% of marriages still end in divorce.
- For people age 50 and older, the divorce rate has doubled in the past 10 years resulting in the gray divorce phenomenon.
- The average length for divorce proceedings is one year.
- In the U.S, the average cost of a divorce is $15,000, which includes filing fees and the cost of an attorney.
Why do people wait until January to file for divorce?
1. The holiday season highlighted the problems in the marriage
The stress of the holiday season, which can include travel and spending lots of time with family can exacerbate existing problems. The holiday season is busy and demanding. For couples whose marriage is already on shaky ground, it can be all they can do to hold the marriage together during the holiday season. For those couples, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Usually, the problems in the marriage existed long before the holidays. It’s just that the holidays tend to shine a spotlight on what’s already broken. Sometimes it’s as simple as the realization that you cannot find a meaningful gift or card for your spouse because the feelings aren’t there. Eventually, some spouses decide that they don’t want to spend another holiday season in an unhappy marriage.
2. When the holidays were over, the problems were still there
Some look to the holidays as a period of hope and renewal. When they realize that nothing has changed, they resign themselves to ending the marriage. Other people may get so swept up in the holiday fairy wonderland of pretty lights, joyous music, celebrations, and merrymaking that they start to believe they can try to make their relationship work. However, after the New Year begins and life returns to normal, their real-life problems start piling up again, and they realize that the holidays didn’t fix anything, they just provided a temporary respite.
3. For Many the New Year is time for a fresh start
Some people decide that the New Year is a time to “make improvements.” For many, the New Year reminds them that they need a fresh start, and it is time to get out of an unhealthy relationship and move on to something healthier and more satisfying.
It is another kind of New Year’s resolution. After a lot of reflection, some people resolve that the weight they want to lose for the New Year is the burden of a bad marriage. It also can be a good time to start the process. People who may have been thinking about divorce for a while may have wanted to get through the holidays and winter school break before upending the whole family with the sadness of divorce.
Transitional periods like the change of the season and the start of a New Year frequently provide the motivation to file for divorce.
4. One last holiday season as a family.
For many married couples, one of the biggest reasons they choose to stay together and wait until January to file for divorce is to preserve the holiday season’s magic. This desire is especially likely for couples with children, as they try prevent any stress or unpleasantness from spoiling the holidays.
What type of Scrooge ruins the holidays by telling the kids before Christmas or Hanukkah that their marriage is ending? Fear of forever tainting the children’s memory and feelings about the holidays causes many parents to wait until after the New Year and the end of the holiday season to announce their plans to file for divorce. Not that there is ever a good time, but the period from October through New Years is a particularly bad time.
5. Financial considerations
As mercenary as it sounds, married couples often divorce in January rather than earlier in the year as a result of tax and financial considerations. Some couples find it beneficial to wait until after the first of the year to file their divorce to take advantage of the tax breaks that being married can provide or for other financial reasons.
Divorce is never an easy choice
When it comes down to deciding to get a divorce, going through the process will be difficult and painful no matter what time of year you choose to do it.
Divorce won’t be easy, but it doesn’t have to be a heated battle either. You want to try to make sure that you get through it in a way that preserves as much of your money and your psychological well-being as possible. You can’t make it painless but you can try to lessen the damage to you and your children.
Contact a Warwick, RI Divorce Attorney
An experienced divorce attorney familiar with your state’s laws can assist you with your questions and concerns about filing for divorce.
Divorce is a personal and challenging decision. A skilled divorce attorney will examine your divorce case and help you determine what your best course of action should be. To schedule a free consultation, call today.