January has unofficially earned a reputation as “Divorce Month” because, in the first few weeks of the new year, divorce attorneys see an uptick in divorce filings. Legal experts believe the holidays play a huge role in deciding whether to finally file for divorce in the New Year, as many, especially those with children, would rather not file for divorce during the holidays. This year, divorce filings may not come as a big surprise to those who have felt the negative impact of the pandemic weighing on their relationships. While studies show that divorce spikes in January, marital separation at any time of the year is a stressful process for all parties involved.
Following the new year, many choose to take on resolutions such as eating healthier, losing weight, saving money, and paying off debt. But according to FOX Business, many people also adopt the “New year, new me” approach, which may include having the resolution of leaving behind a marriage. January can be a time for reflection, where people can choose to assess their marriage and determine if they are willing to put in another year with their current spouse. But experts say that those who made divorce a resolution should “resist the temptation to try to make the case go too quickly because often they will make over-generous offers that they will come to regret.” The decision to file for divorce can also be the result of stress over the holidays. Although we are made to believe that the holidays are the most wonderful times of the year, the amount of stress that it can place on a marriage can be too much for the relationship to handle. The holidays can damage an already troubled marriage and can push couples to the brink of a divorce.
Recent data shows that the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging across the country has played a huge role in deciding to divorce. The combination of stress, death of loved ones, homeschooling children, unemployment, financial strain, and more have caused divorce rates to spike. According to a report by The Life Project, the pandemic has caused couples to go through “the perfect storm”, with lockdowns and social distancing causing them to spend increased amounts of time together. Experts say this has served as a catalyst for break-ups that may already have been on the rocks. Data reported by the National Law Review shows that by April 2020, one month after people were asked to quarantine, the interest in divorce had already increased by 34%, with newer couples being the most likely to file for divorce. 20% of couples who had been married for five months or less sought divorce during this time period, compared with only 11% in 2019.
There is no right time to file for a divorce and every individual should consider what is right for their own specific set of circumstances. January might be the ideal month to file for divorce for many, but this doesn’t necessarily need to apply to you. But if you decide that filing for divorce might be in your best interest, it is best to do everything in your power to control your emotions and maintain an even temper. This is a time to stay cool, calm, and collected and start planning your own preparations. Once the decision is made to end a marriage, it’s important to consider where to start and what important issues need to be covered. Doing your own research or talking to friends who have been through the divorce process before may be helpful but receiving guidance directly from an experienced divorce attorney will help you in navigating your specific case.
by Debra Schoenberg