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Post-holiday divorce is common across the nation

Family issues and the decision to divorce can come about at any time of year. However, there are certain times of the year when divorce is more common. Californians who are in the middle of a dispute with their spouse and are contemplating the end of a marriage might scoff at the idea that there is a correlation between a certain month and divorce. But, for couples who are experiencing problems in the relationship and are thinking about whether they want to move on, the holiday season and its accompanying stresses could be the breaking point. If this is a consideration, it might be beneficial to contact an experienced divorce attorney.

Statistically and anecdotally, divorce filings tend to rise in January. Legal professionals call January "divorce month" because there are so many more filings after the holiday season. People use search engines and social media to find divorce topics during the first month of the year -- a trend that has been increasing for the past several years. Studies, such as one from the University of Washington in 2016, show that in the 15 years from 2001 to 2015, there was an increase in divorce filings in January versus December. Other states showed a similar pattern.

Notably, divorce have been happening less often in recent years. In 2017, there was an 8 percent reduction in the number of divorces and annulments when compared to a decade earlier. Fewer people are getting married, which could play a role in that drop.

There are many factors that are believed to be part of the reason people divorce after the New Year. Included are the stresses of the holidays, spending time with the family sparking dispute and the exacerbation of lingering disagreements. This leads people to hit the breaking point.

Other factors are cited including the desire to make changes with the New Year, the waiting time Californians are required to have before a divorce, and wanting to spend one last holiday together as a family before moving on. Every marriage is different and the statistics do not tell the whole story when divorce legal issues and the accompanying emotions are in play.

Still, it is worth noting that there is a known increase in divorces after the holidays and once the New Year has begun. Before taking that next step, it is important to understand the divorce process and to be fully prepared.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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