Why do divorce filings spike in January?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2020 | Divorce |

With the holiday season now a distant memory and a new year settling in, many couples are finding themselves seeking an end to their marriages. In fact, January is one of the most popular months to file for divorce in the United States. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, divorce filings are 27% higher in January than other months, leading many to refer to January as divorce month.

Why file now?

One of the main reasons more couples file for divorce in January is that they didn’t want to ruin the holiday season, especially if they have children. They didn’t want to make the holidays more stressful or damper their children’s memories of Christmastime. Sometimes, the person who plans on filing for divorce wanted to wait, to avoid looking like the “bad guy” who files for divorce right before Thanksgiving or on Christmas Eve.

Another reason couples file for divorce in January is that they are seeking a new start for the new year. If you know your marriage is failing or is over, seeking a divorce or separation in the beginning of the year feels like getting a fresh start.

Finally, couples seek divorce or separation in January because they can establish their own finances for the coming year. They can keep their taxes simpler by being able to file as single for 2020, rather than having to split the tax year with part of the time as a married couple and part of it operating independently.

What to know about divorce in North Carolina

In North Carolina, either you or your spouse must reside here and have lived here six months to file for divorce. You also need to have lived separately from your spouse for at least a year. To prove you have been living separately, you must be willing to testify to that in court or have documents that show that. You also can call on witnesses to back your claim.

No matter when you file for divorce, your life will be upended a bit during the process. Working through dividing assets, child custody, child support and other issues isn’t easy—even if you have been living separated for a while. Aside from getting assistance from a qualified divorce attorney, you may need the support of close friends, family or a counselor during this time.