The Month Most Couples Separate, According To Divorce Lawyers

Plus: three questions to ask yourself before you file.

Last updated on Mar 27, 2024

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Gym memberships aren't the only thing in high demand after the ball drops in Times Square. Come January 1st, divorce filings begin to flood family courts, giving January the nickname "divorce month." Following a lull in November and December, divorce filings reach their yearly high mark in January and February. But is the divorce month phenomenon caused by holiday stress pushing relationships over the edge or is it due to couples waiting until after the holidays to initiate a divorce? The answer: it's a little bit of both. Once mid-November hits, a collective cease-fire on divorce filings takes over all across the nation. With a focus on their children's well-being, spouses who may otherwise have initiated a divorce put on a brave face in an attempt to give their family a happy holiday. However, this often only delays the inevitable.


According to Irvine divorce attorney Scott Finkbeiner, "Divorce filings always spike in January and February — the filings from people early-year are usually people that wanted to file but just waited through the holiday." "We know this because we get lots of new client calls towards the end of the year, and then they don't contact us again to get started on the divorce until after the new year," he adds.  The holiday season is chock full of triggers that can push a strained marriage past the breaking point — more time spent together, high levels of stress, heavier-than-usual drinking, and impossible-to-meet expectations. An outburst caused by any one or several of these triggers can be enough to sway the decision. Divorce will change your life forever and there typically isn't any turning back after filing. 


RELATED: The #1 Predictor Of Divorce, According To 7 Experts

Here are 3 questions to ask before pulling the trigger:

1. Is your decision to file for divorce just a phase?

The holidays can be super stressful, but before you file, make sure you aren't basing your decision on an intense holiday season with overwhelming demands. It's best to settle back into life and get a feel for how you feel before you take that step.



RELATED: 10 Surprising Reasons Women Turn To Divorce


2. Have you tried EVERYTHING to fix your marriage?

As tired and beat as you may be, be SURE that you are making the right decision, and you should do everything you can to SAVE your marriage before you give it up. Sometimes mediation, therapy, or simply talking through the issues can make a major difference. Voice your concerns, be fair, and be sure that divorce is the course of action you want to take.



RELATED: The 4 Behaviors That Cause 90% Of All Divorces

3. What do you expect life to be like after you file?

Things are probably going to get worse before they get better, and filing for divorce makes a huge impact on your life. Step back and take a look at your expectations, and your finances, and make sure you have a plan for your kids before doing anything else. After thinking these things over and you still want to get that divorce, go for it. Alternatively, if you thought it over and feel like it's just holiday stress, you want to rethink that divorce. No matter what you choose, your happiness is what's important in the end.


RELATED: 5 Tiny Signs You're Headed For A Divorce — You Just Don't Know It Yet

Brian Beltz is the head writer at Divorce Help 360. He writes guides, offers advice, and explores trends and pitfalls for those affected by or interested in divorce.