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January—The Month of Divorce?

The holidays are behind us and it’s time to settle into the dark days of winter. Does that also mean couples are more likely to divorce during this time of year?

According to research, the answer is yes.

January has been dubbed “Divorce Month,” and according to industry professionals there’s a big uptick in the number of divorce filings on the first Monday of the month and generally the momentum tends to continue throughout the remainder of January.  

Some professionals in the U.S. report there’s a surge that’s as much as 1/3 more than average filing rates for the rest of the year and America’s not alone—in the United Kingdom there’s similar data.

According to UK-based legal firm Irwin Mitchell, lawyers have received the green light to file for divorce at a rate that’s 27 percent higher than a typical month in January.

It’s not just action that’s occurring—even the prospect or consideration of divorce seems to be higher according to an analysis by website FindLaw.com. The site reports searches for things like “divorce” and also phrases including “family law” and “child custody” spiked 50 percent from December to January.

What’s the reason for the divorce increase during January?

Of course it may be impossible to know for sure, but some of the common reasons likely include:

  • Many couples who have been unhappy with one another for some time don’t want to disrupt the holidays or cause upset for the children and family members during this time so they wait until it’s over to start the process. They may also hold onto the idea of one last holiday season together as a family.
  • It can also be due to a monetary impact—the sooner in 2015 couples start divorce proceedings, the sooner it’s likely to be finalized and they can get their financial lives and tax obligations in order as a newly single person for next year. It also means as far as the past year goes, there’s not going to be an interruption in joint tax returns.
  • People often tend to feel like January is a time for fresh starts. A New Year often brings a renewed sense of motivation to make changes in one’s life, and that can include finally deciding to end a relationship. You may have been contemplating it for quite some time, but January can seem like that time for a clean slate and to actually take action on your considerations.

What’s interesting to note is that while divorce filings and also divorce-related searches surge at the start of a new year, the same is true of activity on dating sites. Match.com, which is one of the country’s most pervasive online dating sites, reports a tremendous surge in sign-ups in the weeks between December and February. Perhaps couples may not want to be married to their current spouse, but they also don’t want to spend the winter alone.

If you’re contemplating a divorce as 2015 starts, contact a professional Rhode Island divorce lawyer who can guide you through the process and help you avoid potential mistakes along the way. Even just a consultation with a family lawyer can help you better understand the process.