Studies Show Divorces Spike in January and March Every Year

Gavel Divorce Paper Decree FrontThe holidays are over, which means it’s officially National Divorce Month, or as most people call it — January. At the beginning of the new year, people tend to reevaluate their lives, set new goals, and cut out the baggage that’s been dragging them down. For some individuals, that baggage includes their spouse.

Here in the U.S., family and divorce lawyers have reported experiencing a spike in business up to 30% every January. In the U.K., statistics show that one in five couples make plans to divorce after the winter holidays.

“Holiday time is usually a time when we get a spike in consultations and retentions,” said Lois Liberman of the law firm Blank Rome in New York. “Holiday time is usually fraught with a lot of tension, emotion and financial issues, which is usually the trigger.”

The urge to start the new year off on a clean slate combined with the stress of the holidays can create the perfect recipe for divorce. Money is tight as a good chunk of that month’s income goes towards Christmas gifts, and winter day after winter day is spent cooped up at home with the spouse, family, and in-laws. The pressure builds and some couples break under the weight of it all.

Some researchers have found that there is a spike in divorces filed in January; however, the real peak doesn’t occur until March. They’re more likely to call January “I’m Starting to Research My Options Month,” as many unhappy husbands and wives reach out to divorce lawyers at the beginning of the year, but don’t end up officially filing for another two or three months.

Analysis by the website FindLaw.com revealed that Internet searches for the terms “divorce,” “family law,” and “child custody,” typically increase by 50% between December and January and gradually swell through March.

According to Miles Mason, a Memphis-based family lawyer, many clients will start the conversation in January and take their time planning everything out, creating a holistic strategy in order to make smart legal, personal, and financial decisions.

The truth is divorces are expensive, so having a strategy is essential. While the average cost of a wedding reception is about $13,106, the average cost for a divorce could end up in the six-figure range. Some people, no matter how unhappy they are, simply can’t afford a divorce right after the holidays.
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While everyone can agree that June is the most popular month for weddings, researchers and lawyers don’t all agree on the exact timing of “divorce season.” Regardless, it’s safe to say that the majority of splits occur towards the beginning of the year. Other research shows that nearly one-third of women dye or change their hairstyle following a breakup or divorce, which may lead one to wonder: do hair stylists see a boost in business between January and March, too?

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