Tis the Season…for Divorce? Why Lawyers are So Busy in January

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If December is the season for families to come together, January seems to be the season of families breaking apart.

This Monday, divorce lawyers across the world braced for what’s becoming known as “Divorce Day,” the first Monday of the new year, when all those couples who barely scraped through the holidays initiate separation and divorce procedures.

A recent study by the legal firm Irwin Michael showed that an astounding one in five couples kick off the new year with a divorce or separation. The study also revealed that instructions for lawyers to file for divorce have already risen 27% compared to the average month.

The ongoing surge in divorces after Divorce Day typically makes January the busiest month for divorce attorneys everywhere.

There are several reasons that January is the go-to month for divorce. It’s harder to get into court during the holidays, for instance, and few people would choose to file a divorce and then wait around until the courts open back up.

Many couples are just reluctant to break up during the holiday season, either for sentimental reasons or out of fear for how it will look to friends and family members. The appeal of one last holiday as a family likely affects the decision to break up in January, as well.

Then there are taxes. It’s not a bad idea to get a divorce before the new tax year starts, so each partner can begin filing as a single person in the new year.

“New Year’s Resolution’s don’t just involve going to the gym to lose weight,” says Dorene A. Kuffer of Kuffer Law. “Many people in bad relationships also want to shed the emotional weight of a marriage that’s now a heavy burden. January may be the month that couples decide to actually file for divorce – but unless both sides are in complete agreement on all issues, the process takes time. That weight might not come off until spring, summer or even next New Year’s!”

Interestingly, the same week also contained the busiest day of the year for online dating — Sunday, Jan. 4, according to Match.com. Between December and February, the online dating giant typically sees a 38% rise in registrations, and Zoosk reports a 26% increase in registrations in the two weeks following Christmas.

Though it’s hard to believe that apps like Tindr, OKCupid and Zoosk are preserving the sanctity of marriage, the numbers show that it might not be such a bad idea for divorcees to get their cyber-dating on. According to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in fact, marriages that begin online are less likely to end in divorce.

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