January: Divorce Month Explained
Many people view the New Year as a great time to make changes in multiple areas of their lives. The start of a new year is often seen as a new chapter of life, an opportunity for a fresh start - a time to put into action intentions they set at the end of the previous year. Some of the most common intentions people set include making changes to their eating and exercise habits, vamping up their mindfulness practices, and increasing their focus on their relationships.
Couples may also be seeking a fresh start in their relationships. For some,this could look like more date nights, or trying to improve the relationship in couples’ therapy. For others, however, this change could be ending their relationship altogether.
Because so many couples take action towards ending their marriages at the start of the year, January has become known to many as the “divorce month.” It most certainly is the most popular time of year to talk about divorce. Just look at Kim and Kanye - Kim filed for divorce back in January of 2021, and it seems like her and Kanye’s journey towards divorce has resurfaced as a hot topic at the beginning of this year!
Divorce and relationships in general are frequently talked about in the media. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s divorce in 2015 is still talked about today - in particular as it’s relevant to his recent reunion with Jennifer Lopez. Perhaps people enjoy focusing on the relationship dynamics of celebrities because it inspires them to make changes in their own relationships.
So, celebrities aside, what makes January such a popular time to get a divorce?
Here are 3 most common reasons for why divorce numbers skyrocket in the month of January:
1. New Year, new start
The end of the year is a time many people spend reflecting on and reevaluating their lives. It’s a time where you may find yourself making decisions about what aspects of your life you’d like to change. For many, the start of the New Year is the time to put these changes into action. So it just makes sense that you will see people ending relationships as part of these changes, or might be even considering divorce yourself.
2. It’s been in the works
Most people don’t decide to begin the divorce process out of the blue. Oftentimes, people will wait to initiate the divorce process until after the holidays for a multitude of reasons, such as:
Less disruption in the family during a time that is supposed to be joyful (especially if the couple divorcing has children)
Not having the emotional energy to think about divorce during the stress of the holiday season
Some couples may plan to use the holidays as an last attempt to rekindle their relationship, and decide to divorce in January if they don’t succeed
Some couples divorce in January for financial reasons, as waiting until the start of the New Year allows for more time to evaluate their tax filing status
3. Holiday stress
Times of stress (like the holidays) can bring out the worst in people, and in some cases this may lead couples to end their relationship. Maybe there were issues in the marriage long ago that don’t come to the surface until they’re highlighted by the hustle and bustle of shopping, travel, and spending time with loved ones. The stress may lead to increased arguing, and ultimately a decision to end the marriage.
It’s important to know that these explanations most certainly don’t cover the full extent of why so many people wait until January to start the process of divorce, but they are some of the most common. Knowing some of the reasons why people divorce this month can help you better support someone you know that may be entering the process of divorce this year, or reflect on reasons for the timing of your own divorce. And remember that it is always important to take time to reflect and seek out the appropriate resources and guidance before making a big life decision!
Be Your Best Self & Thrive Counseling uses a holistic, non-judgmental approach to help you build an alliance with your mind, body and spirit that work together for your benefit. If you are looking for a therapist who is experienced in helping you navigate relationships, Elena Simonsen is a clinician who can help you explore ways to cope. Book your free 15-minute session with her here.