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January: the Biggest Month for Divorce. But Are the Holidays Really to Blame?

A few years ago, the Huffington Post reported that January was the biggest month for divorces. According to attorneys interviewed, there was a general consensus that post-holiday divorces are the high point for the year. To be sure, many divorce attorneys in Orlando may likely see a spike in marital dissolutions just after the holiday season. The research seems to suggest that the holidays are the cause; but is this really the case?

Why Do People Divorce In General?

Divorces can happen for many different reasons. Sometimes there is infidelity. Sometimes, people grow apart and find that they have little in common. Other times, there is abuse, drug and alcohol problems or other criminal behavior. Sometimes it is financial difficulty or something even simpler – a mutual incompatibility between personalities. Whatever the reasons, stress is usually involved. Couples facing a divorce are rarely calm and happy and at peace. Indeed, divorce is a stressful life change that can cause a lot of unhappiness.

What Role Do The Holidays Play In Divorce?

There are several possible explanations for why the holidays appear to cause divorces. Here are just three possible examples:

  1. Delayed Divorces

Many couples do not simply decide to get divorced overnight. There is typically a lead up to the decision, which may span years of unhappy marital interactions and experiences. But the same couples may not wish to get divorced over Christmas; and this is especially true of those with children. After all, it is tough to tell young children that mom and dad are splitting up while trying to plan for the excitement and enchantment of the holidays. Many couples, therefore, opt to tough it out through the holidays for the sake of the children and get divorced in January.

  1. Finances

Another strong explanation for the January divorce anomaly is simple – money is tight during the holidays. Parents may not want to spend all the money that is set aside for presents and travel on something like divorce. Often, it is more reasonable to wait until after the holidays and divorce once some money can be recovered to pay legal fees. A lot of couples wait for a tax refund, which can be received in January if taxes are quickly filed.

  1. Family Blues

The holidays are a time for families to gather. In-laws and distant cousins show up armed with presents and judgment. Many Americans, tempted to overspend to “keep up” with neighbors and other family members, may spend more than they should. Likewise, having parents and other loved ones around can highlight marital difficulties and spawn arguments and tensions that remain buried the rest of the year. Often couples report feeling unsatisfied or overwhelmed with their marriage right after the holidays. Therefore, the holidays themselves are not the problem; they simply draw out existing issues and force them to the surface.

How to Survive the Holidays

So perhaps the holidays are not necessarily the blame for all the January divorces. But they can certainly underscore existing problems. While some marriages may be destined to fail, surviving the holidays with a stronger marriage is possible. For couples that are dedicated to making it work, there are options. Some couples may wish to consult a couple’s counselor and spend less on presents. Others may opt out of the big family gathering in favor of a brief, yet intimate, vacation alone. If divorce seems inevitable, it can be wise to consult experienced collaborative divorce lawyer Amy E. Goodblatt who can explain the options and help prepare for an amicable and less painful divorce.

GOODBLATT · LEO is located and serves clients in and around Orlando, FL.

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