Is January “Divorce Month”?

A recent article in MarketWatch highlighted the fact that the number of divorces filed surges in January.  Why is “Happy New Year” followed by “I’m outta here” by so many couples?

January falls conveniently on the calendar after the Thanksgiving-Hanukah-Christmas holiday season and before Valentine’s Day, and the New Year itself is associated with resolutions and change.

Couples, particularly with children, resist filing for divorce right after the school year has started and with so many “family” holidays set for the end of the year.  Delaying divorce allows the couple to allow the children and the relatives one last unified experience at togetherness, even if just for show.

Often, during this time of visiting each other’s relatives, spouses only rediscover their motivation for wanting a divorce.

But just because November and December seem like bad times to file for divorce, why rush out in January?

Just as people do not like to be alone during the winter holidays, people do not like to be alone during Valentine’s Day, and if one is going to have a chance at finding a new partner for Valentine’s Day, one needs to first file for divorce.  The MarketWatch article also notes that enrollment for online dating websites surges in January too – hardly a coincidence because of the nature of the calendar.

For couples with children, filing for divorce in January makes practical sense – the children will not change schools in the middle of the year and hopefully in six months the couple can decide where the children will go to school the following academic year.

January also has some economic significance as the end of the fiscal year.  For couples wanting a fresh start, filing for divorce at the beginning of a new year makes taxes a bit easier, as one fiscal year was married filing jointly and the next fiscal year will be…something different.

It really is fascinating how the structure of our yearly calendar influences when couples choose to divorce – relationships do not end in a heated moment, but rather reach an end after a series of happenings, so timing can be more a matter of choice.

If you have questions about divorce, contact us – we can help.

See more from Jonathan Marks about “Divorce Month” on Fox2Now.

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