According to divorce trends in recent years, March has earned the nickname of “Divorce Month.”
December has historically had a lower number of divorce filings. Although couples may be thinking about divorce, they are often reluctant to break up during Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or New Year, because they want to avoid additional stress during the already stressful holiday season. In addition, couples with children may choose to have one last holiday together as a family.
Divorce is painful and traumatic any time of the year that you file, but for divorcing parents it is generally a good idea not to disrupt the holiday season as children are likely to feel the impact of the split much more during that time. Also, you do not want to create a memory for your children that you filed for divorce around Christmas-time, a sad reminder that they will recall for the rest of their lives.
The start of the New Year is generally considered the busiest time for divorces. However, research by FindLaw.com in 2012 indicated the overall divorce rate starts to surge starting in January until it peaks in late March. The legal information website collaborated with research service Westlaw to analyze divorce filings across the nation from 2008 to 2011. They also found that Internet searches for divorce-related information increased 50 percent from December through March.
Financial factors such as income tax and yearend bonuses can also affect the timing of a divorce. A person’s marital status as of the end of the year determines whether they will file joint taxes or an individual return for the past year. Separating couples also tend to decide their approach to the divorce — whether it is litigation or mediation — during the three-month period after December.
Besides family dynamics, finances also come into play in divorces. The holiday season can be an especially expensive time of year with Christmas shopping. So it is important to note that in contrast to a traditional litigated divorce, mediation can drastically reduce costs for couples who can work through their issues together in a conflict-free setting.
Gerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law lawyer and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.