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Winter Divorce Spike

Thinking About Filing for Divorce After the Holidays? You're Not Alone.

Divorce lawyers know that more people file for divorce in January and February than in any other month. There appears to be a variety of reasons for this phenomenon.

Personal and emotional factors are a big part of the wintertime divorce spike. The holidays are over, but the stressors that have built up don't go away that quickly. People have financial worries because of the money they spent on presents. They are stressed out because they had to spend time with relatives they don't like. If they have kids, they often stay together until after the holidays so as not to spoil things for their children.

There are also practical reasons why more people file for divorce in the winter months. First, if they work for a company that provides holiday bonuses, they may feel financially ready to undertake the legal action needed to end their marriages. Another reason: By waiting until after January 1, they can still file a joint tax return with their soon-to-be-ex and get the tax benefits of filing jointly as a married couple.

Of the two months, February is the bigger. Of course, there's Valentine's Day, which can be wonderful or very disappointing. If it's the latter, that could be the tipping point. And January and February are the biggest months for bankruptcy filings (depending on the year), the financial problems revealed by filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be another tipping point. It could even be as simple as the second or third month of a hard winter that keeps people indoors, forcing them to be together more than they'd like.

A recent study by a legal referral service found that divorce filings in New York, California and Illinois rose by around 18 percent over other months. Other legal sources report similar trends, confirming the anecdotal evidence provided by family law attorneys across the country.

At least 50 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, and an outsized proportion of them are filed in February. If Christmas overindulgence, the gloom of January and the failed romance of Valentines Day make divorce seem like a good option, you are not alone.

If you have questions about divorce in February or at any time, the attorneys at Law Group, P.C. can help. Call them for a free consultation to get started.

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