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The January divorce surge: is it real and why does it happen?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2023 | Blog, Divorce |

The new year not only marks a new beginning, but it also brings with it a notable uptick in divorce filings. This phenomenon, known as “divorce month,” in January, happens because of many complex and nuanced reasons. Here, we summarize the reasons the number of divorce filings rises in January of each year.

Factors contributing to this phenomenon include:

  • Married couples are on the brink of divorce, delaying their divorce plans until after the holiday season for the sake of maintaining the peace in their families
  • The symbolism that comes with every new year, which leads people to evaluate their lives, including their relationships, and decide for their individual futures
  • Marries couples’ financial problems finally bursting after a season of overspending

Why after the holidays?

Most married couples do not want to ruin the much-awaited holiday season for the families, especially if they have children who look forward to this time of year. After the decorations come down, however, everyone goes back to normal and many married couples who were contemplating divorce find the timing to be best right after the holidays and before the beginning of another year.

Personal reflection

January is usually a time when people reflect on themselves, their accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Along with this reflection, people also think about the quality of their relationships and whether those relationships are in line with what they want for their future.

Much like individuals make new year’s resolutions involving getting fit and eating better, a huge part of a person’s individual life is who they relate to, especially on an intimate level, which usually means their spouse. If a person is unhappy in the marriage, they may finally decide to break free from it.

Financial planning

Many married couples fight over money often, especially around the holidays. Married couples who have differing financial views for the future might finally decide to part ways after realizing that they must do what is best for them so they can get on a financial path that is best suited to their personal financial goals.

Divorce can happen anytime during the year and there is no specific one month when divorce filings cease. However, January is a month when family courts see a significant uptick in divorce cases. It is important to think through the decision to divorce thoroughly and thoughtfully before making this life-changing choice.


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