The Holiday Season is the Calm Before the Storm for Some Families

We are in the most festive time of year. Families are smiling for portraits, purchasing gifts for each other, and attending parties.

With all that merriment, why do so many head for Splitsville come January?

“I have seen many situations where couples decide to get through the holidays and not disrupt this season for their children and then do the marital split in the new year,” Lisa Turbeville, a divorce financial analyst, recently told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Sometimes the holidays provide the impetus for divorce, the article states. The holiday season can be stressful. It can reveal family tensions that are masked during other parts of the year.

Divorce filings typically increase in January and peak in March. Specifically, there’s a divorce filing surge on the first Monday in January, James McLaren, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, told Market Watch in January.

The number of filings is one third more than normal immediately following the holiday season. The trend is similar in the U.K., where one in five couples plans to divorce after the holidays, according to a recent survey of 2,000 spouses by legal firm Irwin Mitchell.

Besides wanting to avoid ruining the holiday season—particularly if children are involved—the reasons for waiting until January, February and March also might be pragmatic. Extra income after paying monthly household bills typically is diverted to gift purchases and holiday gatherings in November and December.

“Once the holidays are over, spouses who have divorce on their minds start saving money so they can afford to retain counsel,” says John Griffith. “Sometimes they wait until the first part of the year to file because they’re waiting on income tax refunds to cover the retainer.”

If you’re among those who plan to pursue divorce in the new year and you have children, keep the results of one new study in mind as you proceed.

A recent study from the University of Illinois found that family breakups are tougher for girls than boys, according to a Parent Herald article. The study looked at overall health, depression and smoking as a health-related behavior and found that all three are worse among girls. Terry Gaspard says this on Moving Past Divorce about the father/daughter bond:

“The relationship a daughter has with her father is one that has a profound impact on her life. The breakup of a family often changes the dynamic of the father-daughter relationship and it can be a challenge to stay connected. Research has shown that fathers play an important role in the lives of their daughters but that this relationship is the one that changes the most after divorce.”

We recommend that you contact an attorney who specializes in family law if you plan to divorce. A family law specialist can help you work through all facets of your divorce, such as determining child custody and support, spousal support, and other important considerations.

Call today if you would like to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our family law attorneys.