Many lawyers refer to the first working Monday in January as “Divorce Day,” and for a good reason. The whole month of January is often reported as the busiest month for divorces, and the first Monday is when people can make the call to an attorney and get their separation started.
For proof, you can look at the statistics. Google reports spikes in searches for the word “divorce” every January. Meanwhile, there’s a serious spike of filed divorces every March; a two-month delay between the first consultation with an attorney and the actual filing is not unusual.
But why is January such a tough month for marriages? Is there something about winter that makes it harder to stick together? Perhaps, but that’s not the entire story. There are also a few more pragmatic reasons that many spouses split in January. Here are the three big reasons that make January the month of divorce.
The Holidays Are Over
Fall is a time for family, according to the Hallmark channel and years of tradition. From Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas, there’s always another day right around the corner that’s best spent with the people you love. For couples who feel like they’ve lost the spark, the holidays can help them forget their struggles for a little while. However, when January rolls around, any overlooked problems can come back with a vengeance.
On the other hand, many couples find that the holidays finalize their desire to separate. The stress of coordinating so many events and spending money can quickly overwhelm relationships that aren’t on stable footing. This effect is even more substantial when both spouses get to spend time with people they love since they can directly compare and contrast their relationship against other, happier marriages.
Even if the holidays themselves aren’t enough to make a couple forget their differences, their children might. Couples with kids may not want to disrupt the festive season by telling their children about a divorce. After one last New Year’s Eve together, parents often feel free to take the plunge and get the separation they need.
New Year, New Resolutions
New Year’s Day is a time for new beginnings. “New year, new you” is a common saying for a reason. From deciding to exercise more to working less, people make all sorts of resolutions to improve their lives. People in unhappy relationships may take the beginning of a whole new year as a time to examine their lives and fix the problems of the past. For some, that may mean marriage counseling, but for others, it’s just the final push they need to reach out and get the legal separation process started.
New Year’s can also trigger splits for reasons beyond self-improvement. New Year’s Eve parties can show both partners what they’re missing. For pairs that have stopped enjoying each other’s company, these parties can trigger the urge to find a new, more satisfying relationship.
The End of the Tax Year
Finally, the most pragmatic reason for a divorce comes down to money. Remaining married through the end of December allows a couple to file taxes jointly one final time. This can keep their total tax burden significantly lower than it will be in the future.
Meanwhile, the quicker a divorce is finalized in the new year, the less complex each partner’s financial situation will be going forward. That makes January the best option for keeping financial complications to a minimum. Spouses with a high combined net worth often consider this to ensure the process is finalized within a single tax year.
Is a January Divorce Right for You?
Just because January is a common month for starting a divorce doesn’t mean that separation is the only solution. January divorces are rarely a spur-of-the-moment decision. Instead, the new year is simply a catalyst for problems that have bubbled beneath the surface for a while. If the new year has prompted you to think about leaving your spouse, here are a few signs to look for before you reach out to a lawyer.
Do you like spending time with your spouse? A marriage is a partnership. If you find that you avoid spending time with your partner, your relationship is likely in trouble.
Do you or your spouse disagree about fundamental decisions? As spouses, you need to make many decisions as a team. If you can’t agree about whether to have kids, how to spend your money, where to live, or whose career is a priority, then you may no longer be compatible life partners.
Do you trust and respect your spouse? All relationships are built on trust and respect. If you don’t trust your partner or no longer respect them, you will likely find it difficult to stay in a long-term relationship with them.
Do you feel like you can communicate? The only way to actually resolve problems in any relationship is to communicate. Simply talking isn’t enough; the discussion must lead to mutual understanding. If you don’t feel like your spouse is willing to work with you, it may be time to split.
Does fixing your marriage seem like it’s worth the effort? Finally, fixing a marriage takes time and effort. If it doesn’t seem like your marriage is work the trouble it will take to improve things, then it’s time to leave.
The Best Time to Begin Again
No two marriages are alike, and no two divorces will have the same cause. However, there are enough underlying similarities among failing relationships that make January a common time to finally call a marriage off. What better time to start fresh than at the beginning of the year?
If you’re considering a January divorce, you don’t need to do it alone. Contact an experienced divorce attorney today to discuss your options. Whether your separation has been coming for a long time or you’ve just realized your marriage needs to end, a qualified attorney can help you work with the legal system to get an efficient, painless divorce sooner rather than later.