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Is it true that January is prime time for divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2020 | Divorce |

Let’s face it. We’ve all been waiting for 2021.

Even in an ordinary year, January is a time for new beginnings. We put behind the prior year’s frustrations and woes. We make new year’s resolutions.

For many people, January is a good time to explore divorce. The holidays are finally over. You have gotten through the period of the year that can be most stressful on relationships. You have preserved the magic for your children. And, you may want to be clear about your intentions before Valentine’s Day arrives.

According to the National Association of Divorce Professionals, a group for divorce lawyers and other professionals who focus on divorce, divorce is noticeably seasonal. Filings are slow between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, as people put off permanent relationship changes during the holidays. Then, exploration of divorce picks up in early January and surges through March.

Google Trends also indicates this seasonality. According to a New York Times analysis last January, people begin searching divorce-related phrases somewhat more commonly between Jan. 6 and Jan. 12. However, these search terms have also peaked at different times of the year, including March and September.

Exploration of divorce occurs in January, with filings in March

The University of Washington did a study in 2016 to determine when was the most common time to file for divorce. The researchers examined filings in Washington State between 2001 and 2015. The filings peaked in March and August, which could mean that people are indeed beginning to consider divorce in January and during summer vacation.

In other words, people begin to think about divorce during the holiday season and, to a lesser extent, summer vacation. They begin to take concrete steps, such as calling a divorce lawyer and getting information, in January and approximately July. Then, they file the paperwork in about March or August.

Should I avoid the rush?

Coming to the decision to divorce is a highly personal process. No one but you can ultimately decide if it is time to end your marriage and, if so, when. You should make your decision based on your own timing and priorities.

One thing to consider is whether you will be able to finalize your divorce before the year’s end. (Filing in January is a good start.) There are often tax implications to divorce and its associated decisions, and your marital status as of the last day of the year could determine whether those tax implications occur this year or next.

Rest assured, however, that many divorce attorneys are available to help you during “divorce season.” They are aware of the timing issues and often set aside extra time to handle dissolutions of marriage for people during this period. There is no need to change your timing to “beat the rush.”