Why do divorce filings go down in December?

| Dec 17, 2015 | Divorce |

Maybe you know somebody who is obviously unhappy with their marriage and has begun talking seriously about divorce, but has not filed yet. What is stopping him or her?

There are many reasons people put off getting divorced, of course. But this time of year, one of the most likely excuses is the desire to spend one last holiday season as a family. For this reason, December is typically one of the quietest months for divorce filings. It is not at all unusual for married people, especially parents of young children, to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve with their spouse as if everything is fine, only to announce their plans to divorce in January.

That is why a news article on the subject calls December “the calm before the storm” when it comes to divorce. Nationwide, new filings usually jump in January and peak sometime around March.

Sometimes, the holidays themselves trigger the split. With its frequent family get-togethers and unrealistic expectations of a “magical” time of year, November and December are stressful for many people. If they are having problems in their marriage, the stress and constant togetherness may make those troubles worse, or at least more obvious.

Meanwhile, family courts are kept busy during the holiday season dealing with child custody disputes. Though many custody plans lay out which parent has custody during specific holidays, often the other parent will try to defy the order, or ask for a change in plans.

If you are considering divorce, you don’t need to wait until after New Year’s Day to speak to an attorney and get the ball rolling.


FindLaw Network