It’s often said that January is ‘Divorce Month’, a time where there is suddenly an influx of separations and ensuing divorce proceedings, however is this really the case? Today’s blog looks at why January has this reputation and what to do if you find yourself in this situation.
It is true that many family lawyers find themselves busier at the start of the year, with a reported spike in breakups of about 30% in January. This could be due to a myriad of factors, but may be associated with more time spent together over the festive season and the stress that can sometimes cause, for example an extended period of time spent unoccupied with work and the regular mundane distractions.
There has been reported anecdotal evidence of three main factors that contribute to the increase in separations and the onset of divorce proceedings in January, these are:
- The increased time spent together during the holidays: it’s fair to say that holidays are known to be a period of switching off and spending time with loved ones. This increase in quality time can have an adverse effect when a couple is under a period of certain strain, and can often heighten the stresses and existing relationship difficulties. This time of year may exacerbate existing issues and doubts in couples and bring their problems to the surface, becoming more clear and suddenly difficult to ignore.
- New year resolutions: with a new year brings new resolutions. This is often a time for self-reflection and plans for self-improvement. When a person has been dealing with stagnancy or unhappiness in their relationship, the new year can be a time for renewal and growth. This is often a purposeful time where individuals feel they can make the difficult decision to end a relationship in search for a clean break and a more positive future.
- Christmas spent with the family: usually a period of time where family holds the most meaning, and usually the most amount of time. Couples with children may more likely to resist ending their relationship during this time as they do not wish to cause strain on the family dynamic and result in stress to the children. Additionally, this period results in a lack of time and resources available for couples seeking legal advice due to taking care of the children. It is because of this that parents may choose to separate in this time as they are now provided the space to make decisions without the pressure of Christmas.
This was further backed by a 2016 report by the University of Washington who conducted research from hard data on divorce filings over a 14 year period. The evidence showed a clear and consistent rise in divorce proceedings beginning in January more than any other month of the year! The researchers behind this study noted the significant impact that the above points had on this pattern.
What should I do if I’m considering getting a divorce?
When you come to the conclusion that separation is the best option for yourself and your partner, the flood of information available can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to seek out factual information, understand your legal responsibilities, grapple with the division of property and finances on top of parental arrangements. In this time of heightened stress, it is important to have someone reliable you can speak to, someone you can trust and someone who can help to support you emotionally and logistically and who can also assist you in getting the best outcome available for you and your family.
When planning the next steps of separation towards divorce, a helpful list of practical steps supported by useful information is the perfect place to start. We recently wrote a blog on the basics of divorce to assist in this exact situation, this resource can be found here: https://daykinfamilylaw.com.au/the-basics-of-divorce-applications-2/
The main things to consider when beginning the first stages of the divorce process are:
- Financial and Property Settlements: one of the most important and stressful elements when it comes to divorce and the negotiation of assets among divorcees or separating couples. The levels of complexity of each of these settlements lies with each individual couple, sometimes agreements can be straightforward and made easy, other times no agreements can be reached and court action may be required. In the latter instance, it is advisable to work with a specialist family lawyer who is able to assist in the resolution of these differences. It is also important to consider other advice needed, such as financial advice and taxation advice. This is to ensure any agreement reached or orders sought are appropriate for your situation.
- Parenting Arrangements: another complexity when couples begin the separation process is the responsibilities around children and how to navigate the arrangements in the best interests of the children. The principal consideration in any parenting arrangement by law is that the best interests of the child are paramount. Negotiations and agreements often focus on many factors including where the children will live and how much time each parent will spend with the children considering holidays, birthday commitments and special days. Other agreements can be reached around communications, travel and addressing specific issues.
It is important to seek independent legal advice to help you understand your rights and responsibilities, and where possible, avoid going to Court. If you are seeking legal advice about your separation, or just need to understand your options further, Daykin Family Law can help.
Contact us today to make an appointment with Shannon Daykin, an Accredited Family Law Specialist. Shannon was recently named as one of Brisbane’s Leading Family & Divorce Lawyers (Recommended) and Leading Parenting & Children’s Matters Lawyers (Leading) 2021, Brisbane, in the prestigious Doyle’s Family Law Guide. We offer a reduced fixed fee initial consultation, which can be conducted in person, by phone or by video conference.
We give you expert legal advice on the most appropriate and cost-effective course of action for you and your family. Contact us on (07) 3852 5490 to make an appointment for a fixed fee initial consultation today.
The blog published by Daykin Family Law is intended as general information only and is not legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing the blog posts, the reader understands there is no solicitor-client relationship between the reader and the blog publisher. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a legal practitioner, and readers are urged to consult Daykin Family Law on any legal queries concerning a specific situation.