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New Year, New Beginnings: Why Couples Choose January to Divorce

In the last few weeks, business at [company] has been quite busy. We’ve been booking twice as many initial consultations as we do during other months, and the great majority of those people talking to us are retaining our services. As this recent CNN article points out, many people declare January to be “Divorce Month,” and though some argue that January might be more accurately described as “I’m Starting to Research My Options Month,” there’s lots of evidence out there to support what we experience each January in our office – an increase in the number of people looking to initiate divorce.

In fact, one thing we’ve noticed in our office, and in talking to some of my colleagues, is that some people who seek initial consultations during the previous year, weighing their options, make return appointments in January ready to move forward.

There are two key reasons why this happens.

A major one, of course, is that the year ends with a holiday season that encompasses Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hannukah, and New Year’s Eve. There’s a lot going on during that time which puts stress on couples, especially parents. If people already aren’t happy in their relationships, the holidays can cast a particularly cruel spotlight on that. But it’s also hard for people to come to grips with being alone during the holidays – so for people thinking about divorce, many opt to power through until the holidays are over before making drastic changes.

The other major reason, of course, is that a new year signals new beginnings. New year’s resolutions happen because people use the changing of the calendar as a catalyst to make improvements. People are also conscious of a tax period ending, and since divorce brings a major change in tax status (and, indeed, all finances), it helps some people to get their pre-divorce and post-divorce financial situations straight by initiating the divorce as close to the start of the year as possible. From a legal perspective, of course, finances are ultimately impacted by when the divorce is finalized rather than when it’s initiated, but that doesn’t stop some from using a new tax year to move forward with a divorce.

Another perception that may factor in is the selling of a house – many feel that spring is the best time to place a house on the market, and if divorce necessitates selling a house, getting a divorce moving forward during the first few months of the year allows the couple to first determine if the house needs to be sold and if so, to give them the time to get it ready to be listed.

If you’re considering divorce in the new year, it’s worth looking over this list I provided in an article a couple of months ago. It not only lets you know what you need to proceed with but helps you establish the proper mindset for entering a divorce. It can be a challenging process, and it’s certainly not one to take lightly, but it can help you create a better, more peaceful future for yourself, for true new beginnings, no matter what time of year.