January has been known as “divorce month” for many years. The trope is that couples on the brink of divorce wait out the holidays to have one final celebration before breaking the news to loved ones. But does the month of chilly weather and new year’s resolutions really see high divorce rates? The data paints a more complicated picture.
When are divorce rates the highest?
Data from Google Trends shows that searches for divorce were highest in late December from early to mid-January. And while search trends increased around those times, more people officially filed for divorce around March and August.
There can be a few reasons for this. Many people start thinking about divorce around the holidays but are only in the planning stages and trying to get all their documents together. For many, it can take weeks or months before they’re ready to officially file. State laws surrounding divorce may also play a role. In Delaware, for example, spouses must be separated for at least six months before they can legally divorce unless a spouse files for divorce on the grounds of misconduct. Some spouses may decide to split right after the holidays but can’t file because they’re still within the six-month window. For couples with children, some choose to file for divorce in August. They do this because they believe it gives their kids time to adjust before school starts and the upcoming holiday season.
Plenty of people still file in January
While March and August are more popular for filing, some spouses file in January for strategic reasons, particularly when it comes to taxes. Spouses who submit a joint tax return typically wish to avoid the complications taxes can cause amid divorce.
You don’t have to navigate the process alone
While many consider January to be “divorce month,” spouses can end their relationship when they feel it’s best. Knowing when and how to file for divorce can sometimes feel unclear. Fortunately, people can find the right tools and resources to navigate their divorce with help from a professional.