Why the new year starts with a flurry of divorces
January and February have become known over the years as the "divorce months" — with January in particular, the beginning of the end for many couples.
Divorce statistics bear out the truth, according to James McLaren, president of The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He says attorneys see a significant increase in the number of people seeking divorce advice as the new year starts.
And it is not just in the United States. A survey in Britain found divorces up 27 percent in January. And statistics published by eDivorcePapers.com shows the month of January leads the calendar for legal splits.
New Jersey family law and divorce attorney Bari Weinberger's office sees a huge increase in January that often carries over into February, she said.
"Seeing the calendar turn over to 2017 can be a motivation for them to make a new year's resolution," she said.
According to Weinberger, there are five main reasons why January and February are such hot months for couples to leave each other cold:
• The holidays are over. This is a big one for couples with children who just want to get through the holiday season with their children — not needing to deal with divorce or splitting the holidays between two homes.
• There is a sense of a fresh start. "If a couple separated, say in 2016, and tried to work out their differences, but were unable, the feeling that we all get with a clean slate in the New Year may make filing for divorce feel like the next logical step," Weinberger said.
• It can make financial sense. If your spouse is expecting a big year-end bonus at the workplace, waiting until after the end of the year to file for divorce can help clarify that this income is actually marital property — meaning that you would be entitled to a share of it in the property division.
• It's a good time to sell a home. Many people anticipate selling their homes as part of the divorce process — and the spring can be a good time to do so in many areas.
• Ready to move? Some prospective clients contemplate wanting to move out of state with their children, and they realize that that particular process may take several months to address. If moving over the summer is the desired plan, then filing in January could be a realistic time to start the process.
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Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5