The month when many marriages end
A new year is born, and tons of marriages die.
January is considered "Divorce Month" by several legal experts and online forums and New Jersey appears to be no stranger to the trend.
"In January, we typically see a sudden spike in the number of divorce filings and the number of people calling to come in and seek a divorce attorney," said Bari Weinberger, owner of the Weinberger Law Group in Parsippany.
And her office is at full capacity for crunch time. According to Weinberger, her office workers understand it's a bad month to go on vacation or take a few days off.
"This is when people are generally at full force, ready to move forward," Weinberger said of the unhappy couples.
So why is January such a hot month for splitting up? Weinberger offered a few reasons:
- Holidays are over - Especially if a couple has children, Weinberger said, couples want to get through the holiday season in tact. Divorce is also a lengthy and complicated process that doesn't need the interference of Christmas and New Year's plans and celebrations.
- Financial sense - Filing for divorce in January can simply be a cleaner break because of tax reasons. Also, Weinberger noted, if one or both of the spouses involved are in line for a year-end bonus, the couple may want to wait to file for divorce so the extra cash can be part of the split distribution.
- New year, new start - Turning the calendar page, to some unhappy spouses, can represent turning over a new leaf. It's the gloomy version of a New Year's resolution.
Dr. Marty Tashman, a marriage counselor in Somerset, said he can understand why January is a popular month for married couples to call it quits, but the "new year, new start" motto should never be part of the equation.
"That's kind of magical thinking," Tashman said. "They don't try to find out if there are other ways to approach it when things aren't going well. Instead, they count on the new year, almost superstitiously."
Tashman said couples should put a lot of time and energy into such a serious decision before seeking out a divorce attorney.
"People give up too easily," he said. "Really work hard before you decide to give up."
While January is considered the top month for divorce, groups are split on the specific day that hosts the most divorce filings. Some have pointed to the first Monday after kids return to school from winter break. Others say it depends on when the couple returns to work.