The holidays are over, the new year has begun, and many people think—time to get divorced?!
As these articles in the New York Times and USA Today indicate, family law attorneys see a large uptick in business in January, and in fact the number of new divorce filings is high for January. What explains this trend?
From Labor Day until New Year’s Eve, the calendar fills with important family holidays, notably Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many family-related events are planned, and for couples experiencing difficulties in their marriage, they tend to suppress their feelings for the sake of appearances if nothing else. Often, by the time these family-centered events end, spouses wanting out feel emboldened in their emotions because the closeness with in-laws tends to exacerbate the negative emotions pushing those spouses toward divorce. Once they reach the end of this holiday cycle, they resolve never to go through it again – and begin exploring divorce as a real option.
The holiday time tends to put a mirror up to the marriage and brings couples to a point of true reflection on the status of their relationship. While many think that infidelity is the principal cause of divorce, it is not – unmet expectations, different paths and financial issues actually prove the most common causes. It is often during the holidays that spouses see other family and close friends and want something they have, or they engage in conversations about the frailties of their own marriages. Also, the new year is a time of resolutions, and getting a new start in life by ending a marriage and moving on may be that resolution for some.
The January rush to file is not a trend one should jump on lightly. If you have been experiencing recent difficulties in your marriage and they came more to a head during the holidays, perhaps consider less final options, such as counseling. If you feel divorce may be a real option, seek out the advice of an experienced family law attorney so that you have the best information possible about what would be involved if you decide to pursue divorce. Do not make a purely emotional or reactive decision. Instead, give serious thought to what the process will involve – financially, emotionally, and structurally for you and your family.
If you are considering divorce, contact us – we can help.