Men’s Journal magazine is currently reporting that – while there may be no “good” time to divorce – many people have started to call January the “divorce month.” Why? Because January is when there is a big increase in couples filing for divorce and child custody, or just scheduling appointments to speak with divorce and family lawyers.
Happy New Year
The timing is certainly no coincidence. January follows a busy holiday season. During this time, many people make New Year’s resolutions, which may cause you to want to hit the “reset button.”
“The pressure of the Christmas period where people are being exposed to their families and in-laws, often is the catalyst for people making the decision to end their marriages.”
Beyond dealing with extended family, there are a lot of financial pressures which can also be a “huge stressor” for families around this time of year. Add in inflation and the current cost-of-living, the holiday season can be difficult.
Many people also use January as a period of reflection because they are on holiday from work, and have the time to think about what is going on in life and what they might like to change.
The cold and holidays also forces many couples in close proximity with extended family. Many people are pushed toward a ‘new year, new me’ mindset because they are spending more time with their significant others, spouses, and family than any other period throughout the year.
Florida No-Fault Divorce
The official term for divorce in Florida is “dissolution of marriage”, and you don’t need fault as a ground for divorce. Florida abolished fault as a ground for divorce.
I’ve written about no fault divorce and statistics about divorce – such as the January divorce month phenomenon – before. The no-fault concept in Florida means you no longer have to prove a reason for the divorce, like your husband’s alleged infidelity with a congresswoman. Instead, you just need to state under oath that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
Before the no-fault divorce era, people who wanted to get divorce either had to reach agreement in advance with the other spouse that the marriage was over, or throw mud at each other and prove wrongdoing like adultery or abuse.
No-fault laws were the result of trying to change the way divorces played out in court. No fault laws have reduced the number of feuding couples who felt the need to resort to distorted facts, lies, and the need to focus the trial on who did what to whom.
New Year, New You
In a University of Washington study, researchers analyzed filings in Washington state and found that divorces consistently peaked in March and August.
Associate sociology professor Julie Brines, who co-authored the study, says that winter and summer holidays are typically seen as “culturally sacred times for families,” and that filing for divorce can be seen as inappropriate, or even taboo, during these times.
Many couples ostensibly might think that spending Christmas together or taking the family on a summer vacation might help smooth over any marital troubles.
People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past. They represent periods in the year when there’s the anticipation or the opportunity for a new beginning, a new start, something different, a transition into a new period of life. It’s like an optimism cycle, in a sense.
In any case, January is here. Happy new year.
The Men’s Journal article is here.