Why is January Known as Divorce Month?

Posted in Divorce on October 29, 2021

Over the years, January has earned the undesirable nickname of “Divorce Month” due to a consistent spike in the number of divorce cases filed after the end of the winter holidays. This is not the only divorce season on the calendar, however. Spring and fall also see similar spikes. Whether there is any truth behind this nickname, as well as if January is the right time for you to file for divorce, are issues that you can discuss in more detail with an attorney.

Does the Number of Divorce Cases Increase in January?

Yes. According to research from the University of Washington, there is a quantifiable uptick in the number of divorce petitions filed in January after the winter season. Over a 14-year period, the rate of couples filing for divorce consistently bottomed out in December, then significantly rose in January – making it known as Divorce Month. The numbers continue to climb, however, until they reach their peak in March. 

Some of the reasons why January is the month that is known as the most popular month for getting divorced may include:

  • New Year’s resolutions. The tradition of creating a New Year’s resolution, or the idea of a new beginning, might encourage a divorce. For example, your plans for the future might not include your current spouse or relationship.
  • Giving the kids one last holiday season. Many parents wish to give their kids one last Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah as a family before announcing a divorce, resulting in more divorces being filed in January than over the holiday season.
  • Holiday stress. Stress related to holiday planning, hosting family members and shopping could be the last straw that pushes a couple to get a divorce in the new year. In other cases, the stress of holiday planning can push a plan for divorce to the back burner until January.
  • Financial strain. Money is one of the main reasons that couples fight and file for divorce. For many families, the holiday season is the most expensive time of the year. This can increase the tension and number of arguments involving finances.
  • Cultural or religious reasons. Other couples might put off a divorce until after the holidays due to seeing this time of year as sacred. These couples may not wish to be inappropriate or sacrilegious by filing for divorce until the holiday season is safely behind them.

After the divorce rate peaks in March, it falls back down during the summer months of April through July, possibly in connection to kids’ summer breaks from school and planned family summer vacations. Then, around back-to-school time, the number of divorces increases again in August and September, only to fall back down to its lowest point in December.

Is There a Certain Month You Should File for Divorce?

Ultimately, choosing when to file for divorce is a personal choice that must be made based on your unique situation and what is best for your family. Just because many couples tend to wait until after the holidays to file for divorce does not mean that this is the right choice for you. Choose the right time to file for your divorce based on what matters most to you. Couples may base this decision around:

  • Tax considerations for the new year
  • Kids’ school schedules
  • A child turning 18
  • A new relationship
  • Paying off a debt
  • The sale of a house or business
  • Retirement

…and many other factors. In the end, the timing depends on when it feels right for you and your family. If you wish to end your marriage quickly and efficiently, contact a divorce lawyer in Solana Beach for assistance. Working with an attorney from Ratzer|Dobis can give you everything that you need for a successful divorce in any month of the year – not just Divorce Month.