July 18, 2017

It’s not just a rumor; January is the biggest divorce month of the year.

eDivorcePapers.com cites January as the month with the most legal breakups. FindLaw.com, a legal-information website, also notes divorces spiking in January. The site also says “divorce” and related search phrases increased 50 percent from December 2010 to January 2011.

“Technically, the actual divorces aren’t finalized in January, but there does seem to be an increase in the number of initial consultations at the beginning of each year for individuals seeking information and legal advice about separation and divorce,” said Lynn McNally, a family law attorney at Smith Debnam Law. “We generally refer to November and December as the ‘calm before the storm.’”

She believes many people, especially those with young children, wait to get through the holidays.

McNally said a lot of people try to complete marriage separations already in motion before the end of the year for tax purposes.

But the start of January is also a good time financially to separate, according to Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Harry.

“All financial institutions and retirement plan providers have to provide account owners with a year-end statement,” Harry said. “And for the purpose of dividing assets and debts subsequent to divorce, year-end statements work really well.”

Harry facilitates Second Saturday, a monthly workshop for those considering divorce. Each second Saturday of the month, a family law attorney, a financial professional and a family therapist offer unbiased information for those thinking about untying the knot.

Harry and McNally offer these tips for someone thinking about filing in January:

  • Meet with a Board Certified Family Law attorney ASAP, even before sharing your intentions with your spouse. It is only by meeting, in confidence, with an attorney that one can get a real picture of what they face.
  • Make copies of: all current statements having anything to do with the couple’s assets and liabilities; the household budget; tax returns.
  • Take an inventory of all of the assets and debts owned by either or both of the spouses.
  • If possible, come to an initial legal consultation with some idea of your legal budget and personal goals and priorities.
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