This January, you might have heard about some divorces. Perhaps a close friend revealed their impending divorce. Maybe your favorite celebrity just announced that their marriage was coming to an end. Maybe one of your clients has filed for divorce, or maybe you were the one who decided to end a long relationship. Whatever the case, the statistics don’t lie: A recent study shows that divorce filings increase by about 33% from January to March. This shows that while January has a reputation for being the most popular month for divorce, it is actually a three-month period that lasts until March. Why exactly is this? What makes January, February, and March so popular for divorcing spouses to finally call it quits? 

Divorcing During the Holidays is Taboo

One theory is that divorcing during the holiday season is seen as inappropriate by many couples. As a result, they would rather wait a few months until finally announcing that they would like to end their marriage. 

The Holiday Season Can Lead to Many Disputes

During the holiday season, existing tensions within the family can become much more exaggerated and pronounced. During most of the year, the family might actually spend little time together. The children are at school for most of the day, and both parents might be working full-time. But during the holiday, everyone is suddenly forced to interact with each other on a much more frequent basis. Problems might be swept under the rug throughout the rest of the year, but they become impossible to ignore during the holidays. 

Perhaps most notably, financial pressures can lead to serious arguments during the holiday season. A significant portion of divorces are caused by money-related disputes, and these disputes are much more common during the holidays. As couples emerge from periods of spending, arguments may follow when the credit card statement finally sinks in. As a result, divorces become more common during January and the following few months. 

Holidays may also represent a “last chance” for couples on thin ice. They may choose to see how this season goes before making the final decision about divorce. If they can improve their situation with a memorable and enjoyable holiday season, they might call off the divorce. If this fails, however, divorce is the only viable decision. 

Filing in January Simplifies Taxes

Filing in January is also a smart choice because it simplifies your taxes at the end of the year. By starting the year as a single person, your taxes become much more streamlined. You will not have to calculate when you were earning money as a family and when you were earning money as a single adult. 

Other spouses wait until January because they can move forward confidently after filing their taxes. Once they have dealt with their taxes, they have a better idea of their own financial situation. This lets them approach divorce with more financial information, allowing them to pursue more appropriate results when it comes to spousal support, child support, and property division.