January: The Divorce Month
They say that January is divorce month. It makes sense because the new year is when most people take stock of their lives and set new goals. Adding to this is the fact that nobody wants to start a divorce proceeding in the middle of the holidays but, the stress of going through them in an unhappy marriage tends to bring things to a boiling point. If the marriage was on thin ice in December, people in unhappy marriages are generally fishing themselves out of the frigid water come January. When a new year starts, people in unhappy marriages are ready to take the big step and file for divorce.
“Divorce is seasonal”, states Vicky Townsend, co-founder and chief executive of the National Association of Divorce Professionals. During the period of Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, lawyers’ offices are slow because people have put off divorce until after the holidays, Ms. Townsend said. Increased divorce filings in the month of January has been the trend since the 1970s and 1980’s when baby boomers started to divorce at higher rates.
The high number of divorce filings in the month of January is certainly reflected in the digital world as well. A Google Trends search for “divorce” indicates that it was the most popular search from Jan. 6 through Jan. 12. The term appeared to be trending upward from the last week of December through the first week of January. Over the past five years, the search term peaked at various other months during the year as well, including March 2018 and September 2016.
Incompatibility, infidelity, and money problems are the three leading causes of divorce, according to a 2013 survey conducted by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. Everyone has the right to lead a happy life. When someone is in an unhappy or unhealthy marriage, they can often feel trapped and powerless to change their life circumstances. Taking the time to really examine whether or not your relationship is meeting your needs, and if it can be saved, is the first step in determining what your future will look like.
If you are considering a divorce, know that there are process options that are less costly and much healthier than divorce litigation. Alternative Divorce Resolutions (ADR) foster an atmosphere of cooperation and privacy for couples seeking a respectful and non-litigious transition into their own separate lives. Mediation, collaborative divorce and negotiated settlements are all viable alternatives to litigation that afford couples the ability to restructure their families in a healthy and more positive manner so that this life transition is less traumatic for all.