Study Shows that March is “Divorce Month”

Hands ripping photograph of couple

According to a study conducted by FindLaw.com, nearly half of all divorce complaints are filed in the first three months of the year, and the bulk of those are filed in March. The analysis showed a spike in traffic to divorce-related websites in January, with the peak in March. While many attorneys agree with the findings, they say that the specific reasons are not clear, but likely have to do with the holidays.

Many lawyers say that, in their experience, calls and initial consultations start to decline just before Thanksgiving and most people tend to avoid decisions about divorce until after New Years. In a typical situation, where the decision has been postponed due to the holidays, a party seeking a divorce will typically use January as “decision month,” where the initial decision is made to contact an attorney. Most parties then use February as “planning month,” where there’s an initial meeting with legal counsel.

Often, there can be some vacillation, but another holiday—Valentines Day—often leads to a flood of calls, consultations and complaints. According to one attorney, who has handled family law matters for more than 25 years, there’s frequently a realization on or around Valentines Day that the relationship is simply not working. In particular, many women will use an unhappy Valentines Day to finalize the decision to file for divorce.

The study also highlighted a trend in American divorce—while the bulk of divorces are still among people who have been married less than 10 years, attorneys are seeing more and more of what they call “gray divorce,” with couples married 20, 30, 40 and even 50 years filing for divorce.

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