Divorcing Seattle couple discuss divorce trends throughout the year

Common knowledge holds that divorces are common after the holidays. There could be many reasons for this, such as a desire for one more family holiday or not wanting to damper the holiday season for family and friends by announcing a divorce. But while many consider January the “divorce month,” a study by FindLaw and Westlaw found that divorce rates actually peak in March.

The Holidays Come With Higher Divorce Rates

One of the most common times to decide to divorce is around the holidays – and two of the busiest months for family law attorneys are January and February. But why do winter holidays and the end of the year spark more splits than other times of the year? Relationship experts have a few educated guesses:

  • Holidays take the focus off of career. As workloads lighten around Thanksgiving and Christmas, many have more time at home and more time for reflecting about the other facets of their lives. Not being able to concentrate on work may give some the opportunity to realize that they are not being fulfilled in other areas of their life.
  • Holidays come with added stress. While holidays are supposed to be a relaxing break from life, there are often added pressures such as visits from family, financial stresses, and added responsibilities. These added worries can break an already fragile relationship.
  • Holidays mean spending more time with your spouse. Most people look forward to spending more time with your families and your loved one. But those who aren’t in happy or working relationship may find that the holidays just drive home the idea that they aren’t content with their life path.
  • New Year’s Eve often comes with resolutions. The end of a year can also act as a time to begin new things and a time to make changes that you have been putting off.

A divorce is certainly a sad event, but it is also sometimes necessary to move on to a new phase of life – no matter what time of year. If you are in need of a family law attorney in the Seattle area, call us today to discuss your legal needs.

January Arrives With High Divorce Rates

January is a time for fresh starts and resolutions: across the country, people join new gyms, start a new hobby, or start looking for a new job or a new career. However, some family law attorneys know that January might also be the time to finally end a toxic relationship and get a fresh start in life on your own.

While divorce rates generally drop between Thanksgiving and Christmas – a time when many couples will continue to try to survive the stress of the holidays and stay together for family – many divorce lawyers see a surge in calls right after the New Year. What is the reasoning behind the January divorce?

  • The holidays illustrated a lot of our problems. In many cases, one more stressful Christmas is enough to realize that you could be happier and that you aren’t experiencing the joy that you once did with your partner. In some cases, the holidays mean time away from work and weeks spent with your spouse, which can be difficult. In others, it means financial stresses, family stresses, or travel stresses. Generally, the holiday can amplify the feelings you have about ending a relationship.
  • January comes with all of your tax information in the mail. One of the reasons many couples wait to divorce is that divorce can be expensive. With a new year comes the opportunity to file your taxes and get a refund check that can help with the extra expense of divorce.
  • You can’t imagine “one more year.” Very simply, January represents a time for change and a time for reflection. Looking back on your last year spent unsatisfied and unhappy, the prospect of another similar year can prove too much. On the other hand, a new year spent independent and with new choices and new energy, can seem like a wonderful gift.

Divorce Rates Peak in March

FindLaw.com analyzed the search frequency for the word “divorce” on its own site – and determined that March, not January, is the true “Divorce Month.”

The study found that the rate of searches for the word “divorce,” as well as related phrases such as “child custody” and “family law,” jumped 50 percent from December 2010 to January 2011. The trend continued through March.

But in addition to analyzing trends in search terms, Findlaw.com analyzed the rates of divorce filing across the United States between 2008 and 2011. Again, the data was consistent; divorce filing rates rise dramatically in January, but peak in the month of March.

Again, the holidays may have a lot to do with the January. But another reason may have to do with taxes. You can file jointly if you are married on December 31; otherwise, you must file an individual return.

Did You Decide to Divorce on Blue Monday?

Researchers have found that the happiest days of the year include Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, and the first sunny and warm day of spring (usually in April). But what is the most depressing day of the year? After compiling data from several sources, experts say that the first Monday after the holidays ranks as the saddest of all. This year, so-called “Blue Monday” fell on January 6.

Blue Monday is the day that the most people complain about their jobs and lives on social media outlets like Twitter. It is also one of the most popular days of the year to file for divorce.

Why is Blue Monday filled with so much unhappiness and so many new divorces? Researchers believe that a number of factors are in play:

  • The holidays are over and everyone is returning to everyday life.
  • The stress of seeing family over the holidays—perhaps including in-laws—may remind some that they do not want to continue their marriage.
  • Excessive eating and drinking during the holidays may leave many feeling tired and regretful.
  • Bleak weather and a long winter ahead may result in depression.
  • Many couples have large fights over the holidays—related to issues like stress, money, and decision-making.
  • Some may already be failing at their New Year’s resolutions.
  • Generally, the holidays are a time when many couples give it one last go – but end up seeing the same issues in their relationship surface again and again. After the New Year, as families return to the daily grind, many finally resolve to file for divorce and start a new chapter in their lives.

Do you need the help of a Washington Divorce lawyer in the New Year? Contact the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today to learn more.

Thoughts on the Spring Surge in Divorces

The number of people searching for divorce and related information on the internet and on our website picks up speed in January, and the number of people filing for divorce across the country begins to pick up at the beginning of the year and peaks in March. Divorce experts and researchers say that there are several possible reasons for the surge in spring divorces:

  • The stress of the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are often filled with stress, travel, relatives, and time away from work. While these holidays are supposed to be filled with joy and loved ones, those in unhappy marriages may realize that they should be happier to be home. At the same time, the stress of the holidays could be the last straw for some who are already considering a break.
  • The obligations of the holidays. Some spouses are already sure they want a divorce when the holidays roll around – but don’t want to ruin the season with the paperwork and transition. Some want to spend the holiday with their kids, while others simply don’t want to add another to-do to the Christmas season.
  • After the affair. The holidays are also paired with higher rates of depression, more money issues, and a spike in the number of cheating spouses. A spouse who is unfaithful at the end of the year may file for divorce at the beginning of the New Year.
  • Approaching tax season. Spring is about rebirth – and it’s also about filing your taxes. Looking at your financial information from the last year can be extremely stressful, and paying taxes could have some thinking about filing separately by this time next year.
  • The New Year of new possibilities. With the end of another year, and warm weather on the horizon, spring may simply be a natural time to choose a new beginning and start fresh. Some may make a resolution to split at the beginning of the year and file for divorce around February or March.

Regardless of When You File, Get a Divorce Attorney

Regardless of the month in which you file for your divorce, the protocol that you need to follow to protect your interests remains the same. You still need to create a plan, take action to protect your assets, and hire a divorce attorney.

I can guide you through everything you need to know about divorce and other family law matters. I’ll help you understand your rights and what you can expect throughout the divorce process.

Filing for a divorce is tough, and you are going to face some hurdles along the way. I want to help you get through it with your finances and future intact. To learn more, please contact me, Molly B. Kenny, today at 425-460-0550 to set up a consultation.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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