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Are the holidays the reason why divorce inquiries spike in January?

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2021 | Divorce |

For years now, there has been a strong correlation between the start of a new year and a sudden spike in divorce filings. Many family law attorneys see a massive uptick in consultations for people considering divorce in January every year.

Although people can and do file for divorce at any point throughout the year, the beginning of a new calendar year often triggers an explosion in interest in divorce. Every person considering divorce will have their own unique motivations, but trends in timing can reveal overarching cultural matters that influence divorce. It’s hard to ignore how interest in divorce skyrockets right after the biggest holidays of the year.

Is the holiday season the reason that so many people file for divorce in January?

The holidays are responsible, but not in the way you might think

Many people who consult with a divorce attorney in January will acknowledge that they called when they did because of the holiday season. However, it wasn’t that a terrible Christmas gift or miserable Thanksgiving dinner convinced them to file for divorce.

In reality, they may have started thinking about divorce sometime during the awesome. Especially if there are children in the family, they likely wanted to wait so that the divorce wouldn’t ruin the holidays this year or become a painful anniversary in the future. Even those without children may not want to put a damper on the holiday celebration for their extended families.

Some people may look at the holidays as a last chance for them and their spouse to make things work. Once the decorations have all been packed away again for another year, the spouses can start to think about divorce without worrying that it will ruin the holiday season in the future.

Taxes can also influence January filings

In January, companies start issuing their annual tax paperwork to their employees. Those already considering divorce may realize that unless they act quickly, they will have to file joint taxes with their spouse again in the future. A filing early in the year might potentially mean that this tax return is the last tax return they will have to file as a couple.

Understanding why people wait until January to file for divorce can help you decide when to take the next step.