For many people, the holiday season is a time to reflect on the previous year and the relationships cultivated with friends and family. But, it is a time to reflect on the future as well. What are your financial and professional goals? What do you want to add to your list of personal achievements? Is it time to make changes; to leave the past behind and begin to move on?
According to a recent university study, the holidays are a time when many people begin to think about divorce. Analyzing divorce filings from 2001 through 2015, the researchers behind the study found that divorce rates consistently peak in March – a phenomenon they attribute to the “domestic ritual” of the holiday season.
Divorce Rates Climb Sharply After the Holidays
“Winter and summer holidays are culturally sacred times for families,” says a news release announcing the results of the study. As a result, the study suggests, many spouses who are considering divorce may put their plans on hold in order to protect their children and other family members during the holiday season. Spouses in unfulfilling marriages may also see the holidays as a time to try to bridge divides and create new memories that will support a reinvigorated marriage in the New Year.
However, as the news release states, “holidays are also emotionally charged and stressful for many couples and can expose fissures in a marriage.” In other words, rather than erasing thoughts of divorce, for many spouses the holidays help confirm that divorce is the right decision. Indeed, in many cases, the post-holiday spike in divorces reflects, “the disillusionment unhappy spouses feel when the holidays don’t live up to expectations.”
So, why does the divorce rate spike in March? Why not January or February?
The study’s authors point to a couple of possible explanations.
- First, it may simply take time to decompress from the holidays and finally settle on the decision to file for divorce. Ending a marriage is a major life event; and, for many, it simply takes time to realize that getting divorced is the best option.
- Second, before you file for divorce, there are a number of steps you need to take to prepare. You need to evaluate your finances – both currently and how they will look after your divorce – and there may be steps you need to take in order to set yourself up to achieve your desired outcomes. Getting to the stage of actually filing for divorce can take time, and those who wait until after the holidays to start the process will commonly need a few months to get there.
Not Everyone Waits to Get Started
While divorce rates peak in March, they actually begin climbing immediately after the start of the New Year. December historically has the lowest divorce rate by far following a consistent decline from a second peak in August, and by January divorce filing rates are already back to mid-Fall levels. February sees even more filings than January, with a rate that is roughly even with the annual average.
If the impending holiday season is affecting your thoughts about divorce, you owe it to yourself to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney. If you are thinking about filing after the holidays, using this time to prepare may help you jumpstart your new life in the New Year.
Contact Law Office of Renkin & Associates in North County
For more information on the steps involved in preparing for a divorce in California, contact Law Office of Renkin & Associates in North County, CA. To request a confidential initial consultation, call 619-299-7100 or submit an inquiry online now.