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January: Most Popular Month to File for Divorce

Updated on August 22, 2019
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Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes articles that are interesting to her readers.

January is the first month of the year named after the Roman god Janus. In mythology, Janus was the god of doorways, entrances, passages, gates, beginnings, endings, time, and everything that means a transition from what was to what can be. Janus was known for having two faces which allowed him to look back to the past and forward to the future.

January symbolizes closing one chapter in a person's life and opening a better one in the new year. Divorce might seem to be the best answer for couples who are not satisfied in their marriage. They tend to see the beginning of the year as an opportune time to turn over a new leaf.

Because of an increase in filings, January is known unofficially as the "Divorce Month."

January: Divorce Filing Month

Divorce courts have confirmed that there is an increase in divorce filings in January. A study from the University of Washington shows that while there is an increase in divorce filings in the first month of the year, the divorces aren't actually finalized until months later.

Many divorces are filed at the beginning of January, but they peak around February and March before the spring and summer months.

Unsatisfied couples might have talked about getting a divorce earlier and have gathered their information before January, but they wait until the new year to file.

Couples who had planned to divorce earlier usually agree to file in January instead of disrupting the holidays. Besides, attorneys take the holidays off and are not back in their offices to do business until the beginning of the new year. Most divorce filings in the new year take place between January 12-16.

What Legal Experts Say

Attorney and other legal experts give their opinions about January divorce filings. They believe the main reason for this trend is that people who are not satisfied in their marriages do something about it at the beginning of the year.

They do not want to deal with divorce during the holidays, especially where children are involved. They do not want to break up the family during that festive time. Besides, they want to spend one final holiday together.

People want to make a fresh start at the beginning of the year. Therefore, filing for a divorce is at the top of their list of resolutions.

Maryland-based divorce lawyer James Gross has noticed that over the years there is a spike in divorce filing in January. He told HuffPost that the Christmas and New Year holidays are times when emotions run high and people are pushed to do something about a failing marriage.

Some people do try hard to make thing works during the holidays. They try to mask their feelings by getting caught up in the thrills of the holiday with the music, decorations, and parties. When the holiday is over, reality sets in and the filings begin.

Divorce filings are lower in December but higher in January.

Jacqueline Newman, a managing partner at a top New York City divorce law firm, agrees with other divorce experts. She told Business Insider that those who file for a divorce in January didn't wake up on January 1 and decide to divorce. They probably had thought about it for some time but put it off to get through the holidays before starting the process.

Filing for a divorce at any time is a big decision and often a difficult choice. When people in a troubled marriage make up their mind to file for divorce, they believe the first of the year might be the best time to do so.

Relationship experts say the decision to divorce might have been there before, but couples wait until the beginning of the year to file because they do not want to disrupt the holiday. The beginning of the year is the time people reassess their lives and feel free to make major choices. They want to start the new year with a new beginning.

Joint Taxes

Some people stay in a loveless marriage until December 31 so they can file joint taxes for that year. Then they head to a divorce lawyer the first week in January so they can have a clean financial record for the new year.

Interesting Things People Might Not Know About Divorce

  • Divorce is not allowed in the Philippines, the Vatican City and the British Crown Dependency of Sark.
  • Divorces have not always been legalized in some countries. Legalized divorces are in some places as recent as 1970 through 2011. Examples include Italy in 1970, Portugal in 1975, Brazil in 1977, Argentina in 1987, Paraguay and Colombia in 1991, Andorra in 1995, Ireland in 1996, Chile in 2004 and Malta in 2011.

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