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Why Is There a New Year’s Divorce Spike?

 Posted on December 24, 2015 in Divorce

new year, divorce filings, Naperville family law attorneyDecember is often a quiet month for divorce attorneys. Divorce trends show that divorces dip in December, only to quickly pick back up after New Year’s Day and peak in March. In fact, January sees such a large spike in divorces that divorce attorneys and other experts consider the first Monday of the New Year ‘Divorce Monday.’ Attorneys across the United States report experiencing the spike in divorce filings, and experts in foreign countries like the United Kingdom say they see the same thing. Why do people across the world choose to get divorced at the start of a new year?

Pressure During the Holidays

Marriage and divorce experts say one of the major reasons divorces lull in December and pick back up in January is that families are hesitant to separate during the holidays. This is especially true for married couples with children, who feel they have a responsibility to keep the holidays festive and happy for their children. Many parents justify waiting until after the holidays to give their children one last holiday as a family, though they may be setting themselves up for trouble. There are high expectations around the holidays, and couples who are already heading towards a divorce may find themselves fighting more than ever. The tension around the holidays is likely a reason divorces spike in January. Couples may choose to stick it out for the sake of their children, but are often quick to speak to their attorney about getting their divorce started as soon as the New Year arrives.

Couples without children also often hesitate to start divorce proceedings during the holidays because of pressure to be nice. Presenting your spouse with divorce papers the week before Christmas is not exactly in the spirit of the holidays, so couples often tough it out until the New Year so they feel better about initiating their divorce.

Holidays Can Be Expensive

Despite their desire to get divorced, many couples prioritize holiday gifts and extra spending over paying legal fees. Divorce experts say that holiday spending eats up funds that would likely go towards paying retainers and other legal fees at other times throughout the year. People often spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, on holiday gifts and festivities, and millions of people also take expensive vacations over the holidays. Experts say that after the New Year, couples have time to rebuild their finances and then start the divorce procedure.

Scheduling a Court Date Can Be Difficult

The short few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are often chaotic times for families, and with travel and holiday planning, scheduling a court date can be tough. Additionally, courts are often quite busy during this time of year, hoping to wrap up cases before the New Year. Nobody wants to start the divorce process only to have to wait months to actually set a court date, so it makes sense that many couples wait until the New Year to initiate the process.

Despite the lull in divorces in December, court officials nationwide say they are still extremely busy during the holidays. Rather than divorce cases, they say they see a large spike in child custody related issues. “Around the holidays we deal more with custody issues as far as parents fighting over who will get the kids on Thanksgiving and Christmas,” says one divorce expert. “Then it seems like in January, February and more so in March, the divorce filings pick up.”

Whether you are waiting until the new year to start your divorce proceedings or not, be sure to start the process with a qualified Naperville divorce attorney. The skilled team at the Pesce Law Group, P.C., is available to assist you immediately with any divorce related needs. Call 630-352-2240 to schedule a consultation with our team today.


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