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Why January Leads Divorce Statistics Across the Country


Divorce month. Yes, it’s a real thing. Marriages can show fissures all year long, but January is the most frequent time for couples to split and initiate divorce.

Divorce month. Yes, it’s a real thing. Marriages can show fissures all year long, but January is the most frequent time for couples to split and initiate divorce.

Why January? In the north, you could blame it on the weather, but in Fresno, California, the weather tends to be spectacular all year round. A few other theories may better explain this annual phenomenon.

Who wants to divorce during the holidays?

Couples are often reluctant to split up the family during the holidays. They might feel like divorce would ruin the holidays for themselves or their family. Parents don’t want to spoil Hanukkah or Christmas for their young children. Thanksgiving may revolve around gatherings of extended families and traditions that a couple doesn’t want to disrupt. A person might also choose to wait it out rather than bring in the New Year alone. As a result, couples often wait until the holidays are over to end the marriage.

On the other hand, holidays can also increase the stress of an already stressful relationship. Couples with financial hardships can get stretched thin with extra holiday expenses. Problems in the relationship may be amplified in the glow of the festive season. Issues with in-laws can also become front and center at this time of year.

Divorce in the new year may have financial advantages

Some people may base the timing of their separation or divorce on financial matters. For example, the tax status of a couple who remains married on January 1st is “married,” even if their divorce became final that day. A couple might choose to file jointly to reap the tax benefits of doing so. Likewise, couples may consider health insurance, pensions, or other benefits that are tied to their status at the start of the year.

Runner up months are July and August

July and August see another smaller spike in the divorce rate. Just as the divorce spike during January likely has little to do with the cold, the end of summer increase is not just because of the heat.

Instead, the summer spike probably has to do with the school year calendar. First, parents want to know that their children’s education won’t be disrupted. Another factor may be the routine aspect of school. Without that routine, children and their parents may be more vulnerable to the upheaval a divorce can cause.

Consult with an experienced Fresno and San Diego divorce lawyer for help with your divorce all year long

Available all year long, Rebecca Medina is a Fresno and San Diego, CA divorce attorney who can advise you on filing issues and strategies. Contact her today.

Rebecca MedinaAbout the Author: Rebecca Medina

Rebecca Medina is an experienced Family Law attorney, mediator and Collaborative Divorce Lawyer serving the Fresno and San Diego areas. She handles cases ranging from complex divorce matters to child custody, spousal support, prenuptial/postnuptial agreements, QDROs and uncontested divorce cases. She was rated “Clients’ Choice” by Avvo.

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