After the holidays, January becomes a popular time for divorce

January sees a surge in divorce, thanks to the holidays, court schedules, and even tax considerations.

In family law circles, January is sometimes referred to as "Divorce Month." That's because, as CNN reports, the first month of the year is also when many people start to look into their divorce options. While there is a large debate about why January is so popular for divorces, most agree that the stress of the holiday season, combined with limited court availability and even tax considerations, are big reasons for the beginning of the year being when people begin to consider divorce.

The beginning of divorce season

While January may be referred to as "Divorce Month," it is not actually the time of year when divorces hit their peak - that month tends to be March. However, January is certainly when divorces see a dramatic spike and it is when many people who have long contemplated getting a divorce finally take the first step of talking to a divorce attorney about their options.

As MarketWatch reports, one U.K. survey found that a fifth of couples intend to divorce in January. While not all those who intend to divorce ultimately will, the survey is a reminder of just how stressful the holiday season can be for those who are in unhappy marriages. Many people divorce in January because they either want to avoid a divorce during the holiday season or because the holidays themselves were so stressful and unhappy that they have decided that they cannot endure any longer in a marriage that no longer works.

Court schedules and tax considerations

However, getting through just one more holiday season isn't the only reason people tend to begin divorce proceedings in January. Another reason is that January is also the month when court schedules tend to be more open. In the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's, courts are closed for long stretches at a time, which can make filing for a divorce before January difficult.

Another reason to start divorce proceedings in January is a bit more surprising: taxes. By waiting until the new year to divorce, many couples can still file for taxes in April jointly, which could mean benefits for one or both spouses. A Christmas bonus by one spouse, for example, could be claimed as an asset during divorce proceedings and thus subject to property division.

Family law help

Regardless of the time of year, divorce is a difficult and emotional time. For those going through divorce, it is important to keep in mind that important legal and financial issues are at stake. That's why during such a tumultuous period of one's life, it is essential to talk to a family law attorney. An attorney can advise clients about what legal options they have for negotiating an effective divorce agreement and protecting their interests in the years ahead.