January is often referred to as “Divorce Month” by family law attorneys due to the surge in divorce proceedings initiated during this period. For many, the divorce process can be an emotional and financial whirlwind. The system in place in Canada, while fair, often lacks compassion when it comes to the dissolution of families. We gathered a panel, of which I had the privilege to be a part, to discuss potential improvements.
Family lawyers coin January as the “divorce month” as divorce filings reach a peak. Many couples wait until after the winter holidays to file for divorce, hoping to keep their marriage intact through the festive season and provide their family members with a semblance of normality. Given the divorce rates in Canada surpassing 40%, it’s clear that a large portion of the population will encounter family law at some point in their lives.
The Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters released a study last fall painting a stark picture of the current landscape: an adversarial system characterized by high costs and limited access to legal aid for those who can’t afford divorce lawyers.
We assembled a team of experts to dissect the repercussions of this lack of justice access in family law:
The Family Justice Working Group includes Rollie Thompson, a law professor at Dalhousie University with a focus on family law and divorce. Janis Pritchard, the Managing Partner of Pritchard & Company Law Firm, and a well-regarded divorce mediator, is also part of our team. We have a fascinating podcast on the subject, and even a clip of Louis C.K., who humorously shares his unique perspective on divorce.
So, why is January such a popular month for couples to seek advice from divorce lawyers?
After the holidays lead to a return to the regular routine, the most melancholy day of the year seems to arrive early. ‘Blue Monday’ usually falls later in the month, but according to a U.K.-based protein drink brand, we reach our emotional low much earlier.
Upbeat Drinks’ ‘Upbeat Barometer’ analyzed over two million tweets over the past three years to deduce that the first Monday following the new year is indeed the gloomiest day of the year. This conclusion is attributed to the high volume of despondent tweets penned on this day.
The concept of ‘Blue Monday’ traces back to 2005 when psychologist Cliff Arnall was hired by a travel agency to determine the most depressing day of the year. Factors like weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas, failed New Year’s resolutions, and general disdain for Mondays all factored into the equation.
While ‘Blue Monday’ lacks rigorous scientific backing, anecdotal evidence and statistics suggest a correlation with a surge in divorce rates. Divorcedepot.co.uk, a do-it-yourself divorce service, reports the first Monday of the new year as the most common day to initiate divorce proceedings.
Divorce coach Deborah Moskovitch explains, “Most couples want to spend one last holiday season with their family intact, and they don’t want their children to associate divorce with the holidays.” However, after the festive period, it’s common for couples to engage in “soul searching,” which often leads to the decision to finally end their unhealthy marriage.
As January unfolds, so does the fresh start many seek, heralding a new beginning, free from the stress of an unhealthy relationship. People aim for a peaceful Christmas and a happy New Year, not wishing to disrupt traditions or habits during the holiday season. Furthermore, they wish to protect their children from associating the holidays with their parents’ divorce.
Couples contemplating divorce often delay proceedings until after the holidays. Alton Abramowitz, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, explains, “People want a calm holiday season. Then, not wanting to spend another year with their spouse, they initiate the divorce process as soon as the new year begins.” While no precise data exists for the number of divorces filed in January, it’s widely recognized as a popular time, second only to September. However, postponing divorce isn’t only about maintaining a peaceful festive season; there are valid financial reasons to delay until the new year as well.
Year-End Bonus: A spouse’s year-end bonus will likely be accessible to the other partner if they wait until January to file for divorce.
Emotional Stability: Holidays can exacerbate emotions. If a spouse is bitter about a ruined Christmas, they may not be as inclined to reach a settlement, resulting in a longer divorce process.
Shopping Impulses: Holidays can trigger shopping sprees. A spouse who receives divorce papers might feel entitled to a lavish “gift” in reaction to their partner’s actions.
Tax Implications: Year-end brings tax considerations to mind. The higher tax brackets in the coming year could affect the amount of alimony.
Better Preparation: If you’ve decided to get divorced, you can start gathering essential financial documents right away. Knowledge is power when it comes to negotiation and planning.
Maintaining the safety and well-being of children during the divorce process is paramount. The “divorce month” of January provides a fresh start for many, but remember, the ultimate goal is to ensure minimal disruption to the children’s lives.
If you’re contemplating divorce, consider these points before proceeding. And remember, seeking advice from a family lawyer could provide valuable insights into your situation.
Divorce Month” and Its Implications: An Analysis
The Financial Challenges of Divorcing in the “Divorce Month”
Often deemed the “divorce month,” January can be a particularly harsh time to undergo the divorce process due to the financial stress it places on all family members involved. Fresh from the expenditure of the holidays, many couples find themselves in a financially stretched position. As a result, family lawyers frequently find their clients struggling to muster the financial resources to facilitate a fresh start in their lives post-divorce.
But the financial implications of a January divorce extend beyond holiday expenses. As the year begins, many individuals must reevaluate their financial plans for the upcoming months. When couples file for divorce, untangling their shared financial lives becomes a complex and stressful task. Divorce proceedings often involve selling property, dividing investments, and managing joint bank accounts, tasks that are especially overwhelming amidst the emotional toll of a divorce.
Another intricate aspect that adds complexity to a January divorce is the potential impact on taxes. Undergoing the divorce process means dealing with the intricacies of filing taxes separately for the first time, affecting many divorcees’ financial situations. Deciding who can claim specific deductions and exemptions often leads to contentious negotiations, adding more stress to an already stressful time.
The cost of legal representation is another factor to consider. With many divorce lawyers seeing a surge in demand in January, the cost of legal services often increases, making it challenging for those with limited financial resources to afford proper representation.
Navigating the Legal Landscape in the “Divorce Month”
Another hurdle couples face when filing for divorce in January is the increased difficulty in scheduling court hearings. Family law attorneys often report a surge in divorce rates in January. This increase in divorce filings results in family courts being swamped with cases, leading to significant delays in court proceedings.
Moreover, the availability of judges and legal professionals may be limited post-holidays. With reduced staff and fewer judges available, the already congested court schedule becomes even harder to manage.
However, it’s important to note that despite the backlog, the court system is doing its best to manage the influx of divorce cases. Judges and family lawyers work diligently to ensure that every case is heard and given the attention it deserves.
Preparation for a Divorce in January: Emotional and Logistical Factors
The emotionally charged atmosphere and the dreary weather in January can also impact one’s ability to adequately prepare for divorce. However, it is crucial to remember that this significant life event requires careful planning and preparation, regardless of the time of year.
At the outset, self-care should be a priority for individuals going through a divorce in January. It’s crucial to engage in activities that bring joy and boost mood. Embracing the beauty of the season, seeking support from friends, family, or professionals, and maintaining a healthy routine can all contribute to better emotional health during this challenging period.
On the logistical side, gathering all necessary financial documents and information is key to a smooth divorce process. Consulting with a financial advisor or divorce lawyer can provide valuable guidance in understanding the financial implications of the divorce.
Starting a New Year After Divorce: The Emotional Reality
One of the most challenging aspects of divorcing in January is the emotional toll it can take. Starting fresh can feel daunting, especially when surrounded by society’s emphasis on new beginnings and resolutions. Engaging in activities that promote self-growth, seeking professional support, and surrounding oneself with a supportive community are strategies that can aid in this transition.
Coping Strategies for a January Divorce
Coping with a January divorce requires resilience and a proactive approach. While every individual’s experience is unique, seeking emotional support from loved ones, considering therapy or counseling, creating a new routine, focusing on self-care, considering mediation, and consulting with a financial advisor are strategies that can assist in navigating these challenges.
In conclusion, a January divorce, often termed the “divorce month,” can present unique challenges, from financial strain to the difficulty in scheduling court hearings. However, by seeking professional support and implementing self-care strategies, individuals can successfully navigate the challenges associated with divorces during the coldest month of the year.
As we journey through the first month of the year, it’s important to remember that January, often referred to as the “divorce month”, brings with it a surge of couples seeking to start fresh. The decision to file for divorce is a complicated one, and for many, it comes as the final straw after a stressful holiday season.
The trend of waiting until after the winter holidays to begin divorce proceedings is common, as most people do not want to ruin the festive spirit for their families, especially for their kids. The desire to protect their children from associating Christmas and New Year with their parents’ split is a significant factor in why couples wait until January to file for divorce.
However, initiating a divorce in January can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it offers a chance to start a new chapter in life, free from the strains of an unhappy marriage. On the other hand, it can bring about financial stress, especially after the spending of the winter holidays.
Moreover, the surge in divorce cases can lead to a backlog in the courts, making the process more complicated. This is where the role of a divorce lawyer or a divorce mediator becomes crucial. They can help navigate the legal landscape, deal with child custody disputes, and ensure that the interests of their clients are protected.
In many cases, the decision to get divorced is not an easy one. It’s a life-altering decision that can affect not just the spouses, but also their families. However, it’s important to remember that sometimes, it’s the necessary step towards happiness and peace.
As we move forward into the year, let’s keep in mind that every person, every relationship, and every marriage is unique. What happens in one’s life is not supposed to mirror what happens in another’s. The truth is, there’s no perfect time to file for divorce. The best time is when you’re ready to take that step, whether it’s in the first month of the year, in March, or in August.
In conclusion, while January might be the beginning of the end for some marriages, it can also be the beginning of a new, happier life for many. It’s a time to reflect, make decisions, and most importantly, a time to look forward to the future.
while challenging, the journey of divorce can be a transformative period of self-discovery and personal growth. It’s a time to redefine your narrative, step out of your comfort zone, and learn valuable life lessons about self-love and resilience.
Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Many have walked this path before you, and many will follow. Each step you take, each challenge you overcome, and each joy you experience is part of your unique story.
Navigating the complexities of divorce can be daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. A lawyer and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst can provide invaluable guidance during this time. They can help you understand your financial situation, make informed decisions, and plan for your future.
Please reach out if you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure about what to do next. Schedule a Get Acquainted Call with me. Let’s discuss your situation, concerns, and hopes for the future. Together, we can navigate this journey and help you move forward confidently and clearly.
Remember, life after divorce is not just about finding love again but about finding yourself. You are more than your marriage, your relationships, or your divorce. You have a unique story and the power to write your happy ending.
So, take that first step. Reach out, and let’s begin this journey together.
Navigating the emotional storm of a marriage ending can be overwhelming. You may be asking yourself, "My marriage is over; what should I do now?" Our latest podcast and blog post delves into this...
Divorce. For many, it's a word that carries a heavy weight—conjuring up images of conflict, bitterness, and shattered dreams. But what if there was another way? A way to navigate the complicated...