January is the busiest time for divorce lawyers. Many couples postpone their divorce plans until after the Christmas holidays. Many others see the new year as an opportunity to get a new start in life.
A surge in filings for divorces early in the new year is a recurring theme. The reasons for this are varied.
The last "happy" Christmas
Those initiating the divorce often have feelings of guilt. Disrupting a time that is publicly seen as a happy time and involved family and relatives and general Christmas cheer, is not a burden many people want to take on. Who wants to be the divorce humbug? Breaking the news to family and friends at Christmas is not appealing either and neither are the attempts to cheer the person up. Letting the holiday period slide by and putting a brave face on it is quite a common strategy.
For the kids
If a couple have kids, especially young kids, Christmas is supposed to be a magical time of year for them. Avoiding initiating a divorce until after the holidays avoids the guilt of disrupting the kids happiness. Even for couples that have already decided to get divorced, the holidays are the least likely time to initiate divorce proceedings. The routine of school is often seen as an anchor for kids during a time of change and so waiting until the kids are back in school is a common strategy.
A new year, a new life
A new year is often seen as cleansing, a time of renewal and re-invigoration. We make new year resolutions and are determined that everything will be better that year. Initiating divorce proceedings in a new year can be seen as pushing forward for a fresh start in life and the closing of the previous chapter in the person's life. It is not uncommon therefore to wait until after the holidays to make a move.
Holidays can precipitate a divorce
Both husband and wife are home and so are the kids if they have any. For many there is the stress of buying presents and preparing meals and entertaining guests. All this can adding to the problems in the marriage and can lead to big arguments and be the straw that broke the camel's back. Thoughts such as "I cannot go through any more holidays like this" are not uncommon. The stress of maintaining a positive face on things can wear thin very quickly. By the time the holidays are over, the thought of divorce is much more welcome.
So during this month, think of those who are starting down the difficult path of divorce and experiencing one of the most stressful times in their lives. You hopefully have already completed your divorce so reach out to those who need support during their life transition. Give them hope that there is a brighter future ahead.