Research done in recent years continues to confirm what many divorce attorneys and marriage counselors have anecdotally witnessed; the new year tends to bring a rise in divorce filings. The increase tends to start in January, and is generally followed by another increase to the peak filing time in March. Data shows that divorce related internet searches certainly increases, indicating more people are at least researching their options. Search terms including divorce, family law and child custody all increase around 50% between December and January.
Experts believe there are two main reasons the spike happens this time of year: the holidays and finances. It is common for people to have made the decision to seek divorce before the holiday season, but wait until after to start the discussion. This avoids feeling judged as heartless by family and friends and prevents disruption to holiday plans.
The end of the year is also an important financial landmark for married couples. If one or both people receive a year-end salary bonus, waiting until January makes that a potential marital asset. Staying married through the end of the year may also help avoid tax complications for couples who file jointly.
Sometimes, however, the separation urge may come from people using the new year as a time to reflect on their life overall. If someone is feeling unhappy or seeking change, they may turn inward and look at their marriage as a source of those emotions. Relationship author Suzanne Venker recently offered several key reminders to help change the way people think about marriage before seeking a divorce.
By mentally removing the option of divorce and avoiding green grass syndrome, people can refocus energy on their own relationships. She finds that if people believe divorce is not an immediate option and are not distracted by factors outside their relationship, they will often find healthy ways to solve marital issues. She also urges people to remember that marriage is not designed to make people happy- happiness is often a direct result of your own control.
Not every relationship can be saved and sometimes a separation is the best option. When divorce becomes the answer, it is best to come to that decision in sound mind. That is part of why experts see the numbers peak in March, as people exploring the idea in the new year come to a final conclusion after several months of deliberation.
Valdes, N. (2016, December 26). January, Nicknamed ‘Divorce Month,’ Opportune Time For Unhappy Couples. Retrieved on January 4, 2017 from http://www.winknews.com/2016/12/26/january-nicknamed-divorce-month-opportune-for-unhappy-couples/
Venker, S. (2017, January 4). Couples Who Stay Married Think Differently From Those Who Choose Divorce. Retrieved January 5, 2017 from https://thefederalist.com/2017/01/04/couples-stay-married-think-differently-choose-divorce/