January: for a variety of reasons, a popular time to divorce

Last updated on April 8, 2021

In many instances of divorce, “People don’t want to upset the apple cart over the holidays,” says Alton Abramowitz, the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

“And then … as soon as the holidays are over they pull the plug and file,” he adds.

Although that is obviously not always the case, it happens with great frequency, with many divorce attorneys, family law counselors and other interested parties noting that January is a busy time for divorce filings across the country. In fact, many sources indicate that January is — bar none — the busiest month of the year for divorce proceedings, followed by September’s rush following the summer holidays.

That’s the main driver of divorce timing for many people — the holidays. Especially with Christmas and the kids (please see our immediately preceding blog post), few people want to contemplate things like parenting plans, child custody, alimony, property division and so forth. Many of them … just wait.

Beyond sentiment, there is often a very valid reason underlying that restraint, say the experts, and it has to with financials.

Many documents that are required in some divorce proceedings are not completed and available until after the New Year has commenced. Those include, obviously, all end-of-the-year statements, many which are centrally relevant to things like alimony and spousal support.

Waiting past December is also a good idea for many persons simply because it avoids the mental competition that would be required to compete with holiday-related matters and emotions. In other words, it leaves more time to plan, unencumbered by kids home from school, Christmas parties, gift buying, meal preparations, any year-end office irregularities and so forth.

A variety of other factors can also be at play in any given divorce. In some instances, a spouse’s bonus comes after the New Year, as do any other year-end windfalls. Credit card balances can become a bit shaky and uncertain toward the end of the year.

In short, and for many people, there is some sorting out, uncluttering and waiting that comes to the fore after Thanksgiving and through the winter holiday season.

Clarity is a lot sharper for many people come January.

Source: NBC News, “Considering a divorce? Wait until January,” Geoff Williams, Dec. 26, 2012

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