Why January Is the Most Common Month to File for Divorce

Are you considering divorce? If you end up filing for divorce in Chicago in January at the end of the holiday season, you will not be alone. Recent studies have addressed the ways in which divorce filings tend to spike at certain times of the year, and an article in Reader’s Digest explains why more divorce filing may occur in January than in any other month. Why is January such a central time when it comes to divorce filings?

Seasonal Nature of Divorce

As the article explains, researchers have investigated the seasonal nature of divorce, but not all research draws the same conclusions. For example, a study conducted by sociologists at the University of Washington concluded that most divorces occur in August and March. While there were many reasons for spikes in divorce rates during those two months, the study suggested that the following were some of the most common reasons for more divorces at those times of the year:

  • Both time periods come after family time and vacations, either at the end of the summer or after the holidays officially end and people have time to rethink their marriages; and
  • March and August both come after common periods in which people decide to give their marriages one last try, recognizing after summer ends or winter break ends that the relationship cannot last.

As you can see, the researchers at the University of Washington noted that divorces spiked in March and August, yet discussed the winter holidays and the holiday season more generally as a “make or break” time for marriages. Why, then, is March the time in which divorces spike according to those researchers instead of January? That study suggests that it takes a little bit of time after the holidays end for couples to make the final decision to file for divorce, and that time often comes around March.

More Divorces in January Tied to the End of the Holidays

Yet as the Reader’s Digest article suggests, court statistics suggest that the highest rate of divorce filings actually occurs in January—just after the New Year. Indeed, according to an article in Business Insider, January is known colloquially among many family law attorneys as “divorce month,” with more divorces coming in February and March in response to the end of the holidays.

Why do so many people file for divorce at the start of the New Year? During the holiday season, there are many reasons to avoid filing for divorce. And for many families, the holiday season starts at the beginning of November. Many couples reason that filing for divorce in September or October will mean that the divorce process is at its peak during the holiday season and that it makes sense to wait until the holidays are over. For other couples who are thinking about divorce but finally make the decision to dissolve the marriage, that decision is reached during the holiday season and the couple decides to wait until the New Year to file.

In short, many people decide to stay together for their family’s sake just until the holidays are over and, as the Business Insider article clarifies, they file for divorce “once the holiday glow has waned and spouses settle back into old habits.”

Learn More From a Chicago Divorce Attorney

Are you thinking about filing for divorce in the New Year? Divorce in Cook County can be complicated, but a Chicago divorce lawyer can assist you. Contact Arami Law to speak with an advocate about your case.

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