Why Do People File for Divorce after the Holidays?

Did you know that there’s a spike in divorce filings immediately after Christmas and New Year’s Day? It’s true. If the holidays are the happiest time of year, then why do so many people view them as the last hurrah of their marriage? Though nobody has done any academic research into the topic – at least not that we’re aware of – there are a couple of reasonable theories for why so many people file for divorce right after the holidays.

The first is supported by the fact that the other top time for divorce filings is immediately after summer break, when families go away on long-awaited vacations together. If you think about what the two times of year have in common, it’s that people associate this time of year with family togetherness. Regardless of whether it’s opening presents around the Christmas tree or a trip to Disney World, the parent seeking the divorce tends to delay their action until afterwards, giving the kids one last opportunity to build memories of an intact family, and perhaps giving themselves either a chance to get past whatever is driving them away, or to confirm that they simply cannot remain in the marriage.

Of course, there is also another alternative theory about the holidays and why they lead to divorce. The second theory points to the remarkable stress that is placed on both partners during both the holidays and vacation time. There can be intense pressure surrounding expectations and in-laws, the expense of the holidays and the depression and disappointment that all too often accompanies this highly emotional time of year, all of which can add up to being the last straw for those who have been struggling to stay.

There are additional reasons that can contribute to the January push to ending a marriage. Some are as simple and practical as the tax advantages that come from filing early in the year – being married for a single day in a year can qualify a couple for the tax break that comes with filing as a married couple. Another is the annual push to set New Year’s resolutions that improve our lives and allow us to be a truer version of ourselves. Shedding a sad marriage can be the start of a whole new life.

If you are considering a divorce, whether at holiday time or any time of the year, our experienced, compassionate attorneys are here to guide you through the process. Contact us today to learn more.