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Divorce filings tend to rise in January

Divorce can be an emotional, personal and financial decision, regardless of the time of year. Michigan couples who are thinking about divorce might not believe that the time of year has a significant effect on finally deciding to move on from an unhappy marriage, but research suggests otherwise. Regardless of the month or season, preparing for the inevitable challenges that accompany divorce can be critical to a case. Understanding the factors that will be part of a divorce and any other family law issue can be difficult.

Legal professionals have noticed a spike in divorce filings at the start of the New Year. This has become so common that January is frequently referred to as, “Divorce Month.” The first working Monday in a new year has been called, “National Divorce Day.” While people who are in the middle of a life-changing event, like divorce, may not like the process being discussed in such offhanded terms, there is statistical and anecdotal proof indicating its accuracy. In January of 2019, for example, both Pinterest and Google Trends reported that there was a rise in searches for “divorce” and “divorce party.” Legal websites noted a traffic increase.

A study from the University of Washington in 2016 showed that there was an increase in January for people filing for divorce from 2001 to 2015 after a low point in December. Other months had higher rates of divorce overall, with March and August ahead of January. Still, there is a perception that the New Year means a new start and people want to move on from an unhappy marriage. A factor in this increase is that people are spending time together during the holidays and taking trips. This can exacerbate tensions and push people beyond their breaking point. They also want to have a final time together as a family before moving on.

The decision to divorce in January is not set in stone, but people who have been considering the option will often take that step during that month. No matter the time of year, people who are experiencing a struggle in their marriage should understand the various issues that will arise as part of a divorce. The factors can include spousal support, child custody, income concerns, property division and more.

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