It seems unhappily married couples really take the “new year, new you” message to heart.
Every year, divorce rates soar in January, by roughly one-third. Thus why this 31 day period is unofficially known as “Divorce Month.” Things truly kick off on what’s called “Divorce Monday” (in litigation circles), the first Monday following the New Year, when divorce lawyers’ phones begin ringing off the hook.
So what accounts for this colossal jump in uncoupling? Is it simply the result of clear thinking that eventually follows our national night of unprecedented debauchery (New Year’s Eve), and the collective champagne hangovers that ensue? The general consensus is that couples that have been dealing with severe relationship issues will soldier through the holiday season for the sake of everyone around them. No one wants to hear a Christmas or Hanukkah announcement that mom and dad are headed to Splitsville, USA. People that have harbored feelings of mutual distaste can stuff their emotions inside, at least until the tree is tossed and the ball drops.
However, it’s not just a desire to have a pleasant holiday that drives people to finally separate in January. Aside from the obvious “resolutions” that people make every year to lead fuller, happier lives, there is something else at work. While January signals the start of the new year, and new things in life supposedly hold a treasure trove of possibilities, the bleak nature of the first month of the year could be responsible for some of the impending divorces. People residing in states that experience brutal cold (or even just fierce winds and a lack of leaves) know that they have several soul crushing months in store. The only glimmer of hope in these dreary months is Valentine’s Day – and if the prospect of spending a cheery holiday (that revolves around the concept of love) with someone you can hardly stand to look at anymore sounds like a waking nightmare, you may start seriously considering your separation options.
One researcher found that this January divorce trend goes back much farther than we would even think. While divorce was obviously not that common during the middle ages (14th century), there was a spike in it nevertheless right after the holiday season. English church courts would consistently see the highest number of divorce appeals presented in January. This was most likely influenced by the farming patterns, where the harvest time was finally finished and people had little to do other than stare at each other in their frigid homes. (Source: RawStory)
Divorce360 suggests that some parents with divorce on the mind will wait out the entire summer, out of a fear that once they end up single parents they will have to pay for day care. The logic here is that once the tykes are back in school, the teachers occupy them during day – and again, it’s only natural to wait until all the holidays are over to begin actual divorce proceedings. January just seems perfectly positioned for folks to say “Honey, please get out.”
Whatever the true reasons are for this divorce phenomena, we may never fully know. One thing that is certain is that divorce attorneys will keep receiving a nice post-holiday present every year.