Why you may be thinking of divorce during "Divorce Month"

...and what to do about it

January sees more divorces than any other month.

It is said that the highest number of divorces occur in the wintry month of January. January is referred to in many legal circles as "divorce month." This article explores why divorces happen in January more than ever. It also offers a recommendation on how you can save your marriage if you feel on the brink of divorce yourself.

New beginnings, fresh starts

With a new year comes new resolutions and new beginnings.

As new doors open, many old doors close, and sometimes, in January more than ever, doors close on marriages. While many people are cutting their ties with the junk food in their cupboards, making an oath to start eating cleanly, many partners also decide to sever their bonds with one another. People start a new year with a new beginning in mind, and that might entail no longer tolerating a relationship that is mediocre or not serving them.

Made it through the holidays

Especially for couples with children, the holidays are supposed to be a magical time. Couples often consciously choose to put off divorces until after they make it through the holidays.

The holidays can also sometimes exacerbate any underlying marital tension with all of the family drama that sometimes comes with them, and may magnify whatever issues a couple may be facing. By January, many people truly feel done with each other.

Many couples attribute the cause of their divorce to financial issues which may be related to holiday spending as well. Whether it is because couples do not see eye to eye on money issues or are facing a large amount of financial stress, the end of the year is a time when financial issues are often most apparent.


Speaking of finances, another reason why many couples wait until January to get divorced is because of tax reasons. By waiting until after December 31 to get divorced, couples will still be able to file jointly in the new year, saving some money.

Tempted to get divorced but not totally convinced it is right for you?

Divorce can be one of the most financially and emotionally devastating things that can happen to someone. Further, research demonstrates that divorce can also take a toll on physical health. For many people in truly toxic relationships or abusive relationships, divorce is a relief, but for others, sometimes it feels like the only option when it may not be.

If you are not totally ready to throw in the towel in your relationship, consider getting help for your marriage. A little couples counseling can go a long way. Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples, for example, has been one of the most rigorously researched form of couples counseling that exists. It has been demonstrated to improve nine out of ten marriages, regardless of the level of distress that the couple initially comes to counseling with.

It has helped not only save countless couples from getting divorced, but has helped them drastically improve their marriages as well.

If you are not too keen on the idea of going to couples counseling, make sure that you have not bought into some of the most common myths about couples therapy. If you are ready to go but your spouse is hesitant, learn how to get your partner to go to couples therapy. Even if the process of counseling does not help you save your marriage, it can at least increase the likelihood of an amicable separation.


Byrne, M., Carr, A., & Clark, M. (2004). The efficacy of behavioral couples therapy and emotionally focused therapy for couple distress. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 26, 361-387.

Johnson, S., Hunsley, J., Greenberg, L. & Schindler, D. (1999) Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy: Status & challenges (A meta-analysis). Journal of Clinical PsychologyScience and Practice, 6,67-79.

Hughes, M E & Waite, L J (2009) Marital biography and health at mid-life. Journal of Health and Social Behavior: 50 (3) 344-358.

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