LONDON (Christian Examiner)—While December may be the jolliest month of the year, January may be the bluest—particularly when it comes to eroding marriages. The Guardian reports on new research predicting divorce inquiries will climb by more than 300 percent during January.
The research, provided by Co-operative Legal Services in the United Kingdom, suggests there will be a 332 percent rise in divorces in January as compared to the previous four months. These couples aren't getting divorced because of the stress of the holidays either.
"We know from our research that this anticipated surge in inquiries is not as a result of Christmas being the straw that broke the camel's back," said Sam Hickman, the head of family law at Co-operative Legal Services. "The decision to separate is not taken lightly and couples have already considered divorcing for a number of months and hold off announcing their plans until after the festive period, mainly to avoid upset among family members."
The law provider also commissioned a study of 500 divorcees about what led to the dissolution of their marriages. The Guardian reports that women were more likely than men to initiate the conversation about separation. Fifty-five percent of women admit to initiating such a conversation.
On why couples divorce after the holidays, 43 percent of respondents said they specifically held off so they wouldn't spoil family celebrations. A third of respondents wanted to have one last Christmas together as a family. One in ten respondents didn't want to upset others, according to the Guardian.
Adultery was the most common reason for filing for divorce—cited by 51 percent of respondents. "Falling out of love" and arguing more frequently were other key contributors mentioned.
January isn't just a popular time for divorces in the UK either. Last January, The New York Post reported similar findings by a number of U.S. organizations. According to RPG Life Transition Specialists, an advisory firm, there was a "roughly one-third increase in divorce filings, due to families opting to stay united over the holidays."
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Noting that January has long been called "Divorce Month," a past FindLaw.com press release said that the term may be a bit of a misnomer though. March may be a worthier holder of that title. A 2008 to 2011 analysis of divorce filings across the United States showed a definitive spike in January, but the filings continue to rise through a peak in March.
Findlaw.com also reported a 50 percent increase in terms like "divorce," "family law" and "child custody" between December 2010 and January 2011.
The press release noted tax benefits as another reason why couples wait until the new year to begin divorce proceedings. A couple's marital status on Dec. 31 determines whether they file joint or individual tax returns for the previous year.