Is January Divorce Season?
Couples Usually Stay Married Through Christmas, New Year’s Holidays
The reasons vary, but the results are the same — divorces follow the seasons, experts say.
While there are no specific reasons, experts say people don’t want to interrupt their summer vacations so they wait until they’re over before filing for divorce. Others suggest women who are about to become single parents wait until the kids are back in school, so they don’t have to pay for daycare. Some think there is a spike in calls to divorce lawyers after the winter holidays because couples think that time of year is romantic and may put their marriage back on track.
If the increase in calls to divorce attorneys is any indication, neither a summer vacation focused on healing the marriage or romantic holidays are enough to make a difference.
Ann C. Thompson has been practicing family-law for 29 years, first in New Hampshire and now in Venice, Fla. She said she and fellow attorneys have discussed the seasonality of divorce quite often. “Some attorneys say couples stay together until the beginning of the school year, while others say they wait until after graduation is over,” she said.
Thompson said sometimes couples choose their time to divorce based on family specifics. A daughter may be getting married in July, for example, so her parents wait until after her wedding to file for divorce. “These are all theories,” Thompson said. “Personally, I don’t have a clue why people divorce at certain times of the year more than others.”
One attorney told Thompson that it seems clients who work and live in tourist destination locations have more money during tourist season, especially if they are in retail.
Bernard Rothman, counsel to Sankel, Skurman & McCartin LLP in New York, said it’s typical for him to receive a flood of calls from new clients beginning on September 5th every year. “Generally the calls fall off just before Thanksgiving and pick up again on January 2,” he said. “The calls tend to come in on a fairly even keel until about June 1, when vacation starts.”
Rothman thinks people use summer vacations to either vacation from tough marital issues or to try to solve the problems by going to a romantic place to rekindle the spark. “For some, divorcing in the fall prevents the children who are home during the summer from becoming more aware of fights or problems that may occur once the couple files for divorce,” he said.
Chicago Attorney and author Jeffrey Leving said his practice sees the most calls for divorce following holidays. “Couples have false expectations,” he said. “They think miracles will happen during the holidays, especially when children are involved. Leving said the Legal Services Commission recognizes January and February as the busiest months for divorce.
Whatever the reason, it appears there is little magic for marriages in trouble.
About the author: Brooky Brown is an award-winning writer and editor who has worked in Ohio, Indiana and now works and resides in Florida.