January has often been referred to as a divorce month. It is characterized by new beginnings, fresh starts and resolutions. Unfortunately, for some couples these resolutions can include separation or dissolution of their marriage.
January is also the month with the highest number of divorces in the United States . In fact, the number of divorces that are filed during January has been increasing steadily each year for at least the past decade.
The reasons for this increase vary from year to year, but usually include a combination of factors such as:
- The end of the holiday season is a time for reflection, and many people decide to reevaluate their relationships.
- People often make resolutions that include changes in their personal lives.
The divorce rate spikes in January, and it’s mainly because of stress, according to Russell I. Marnell, principal lawyer at the Marnell Law Group. “Stress levels during the holidays are exacerbated by the stress of marriage and they don’t want to deal with both of these situations,” he said. “A couple that is struggling to maintain a marriage may often be prompted to consider divorce as part of one or both of the partners’ self-evaluation that comes with the new year. Many people make New Year’s resolutions to put their personal lives in order, even if that includes ending an unhealthy marriage.”
Another reason why people divorce in January is tax issues,” Marnell said. “You may have filed a joint tax return in the past and you don’t want to deal with that going forward. You may want to get any tax issues resolved before the year’s end.” Taxes certainly aren’t the only excuse couples are giving these days.
This trend is not just an urban myth, lawyers definitely notice the January difference. Marnell adds, “The University of Washington did a study, showing most divorces filed in the state happen in March. That may be due to the time lag of several months from the first meeting with a lawyer in January to then preparing and filing with the court the legal documents necessary to start the divorce action.”
If you are thinking of divorce this January and want to know what your home is worth before entering mediation, and deciding what to do with (often) your largest asset, call me for a free market consultation.