January is anecdotally known as Divorce Month, a time in which couples start the process of divorcing, legally separating or otherwise breaking up. At least according to one organization of family lawyers, there is some truth behind this label. The organization said that new filings for divorce increase to levels that are 33 percent above what the organization considers normal.
Additional data backs up the organization’s statement. At least in 2019, the number of people using Google to find information about divorce peaked out in early January.
There are a number of reasons why January is a time in which relationships begin to unravel legally. Many people see the New Year as a time to change things up or get out of a difficult situation. In other cases, the recent holiday season served to reinforce in a couple’s mind the contention they are experiencing in their relationship.
In other cases, people wait until January because of child custody and visitation issues. January is a good time because it reduces the possibility of custody-related fights over the holidays and also may make the split emotionally easier on their children. On the other hand, starting the process early in the year means that schooling issues can hopefully get ironed out before the next term starts the following August.
Finally, it may make the most financial sense to start the process at the turn of a new calendar year. For instance, if a person expects a change in income or assets in the upcoming months, starting a high-asset divorce or separation in January may be the best legal option. Of course, since timing depends on one’s individual circumstances, it is important to fully understand the law.