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Is January aptly named “Divorce Month?”

There is a common conception in Massachusetts and elsewhere that January is the primary month in which people start the process of getting a divorce by filing the necessary paperwork.

While there is some truth behind the nickname “Divorce Month,” as will be explained, according to one study, most people file for divorce in either March or in August. This study is based on publicly available filings in another state, but they still could reasonably reflect the nationwide trends.

January is a significant Divorce Month because the time between December and January is the point in which filings spike to higher levels, levels that peak out in both March and again in August after flatlining for the spring and early summer. The number of filings trails off rapidly after August to a low point in December.

Without further review and analysis, it is hard to know exactly why the numbers play out as they do. With respect to divorces in the summer, some believe that it takes a big family vacation, often in July, to convince a couple to call it quits in their relationship.

Some also point out that the end of the year, around Christmas, may be a very hard time for a couple to start the process of divorce, especially if they are accustomed to celebrating the holidays with their children.

Whatever the reasons, there is some truth to the notion that more Massachusetts couples will be facing the prospect of a divorce or other breakup starting now and lasting through the next several months. In addition to the emotional fallout, these sorts of splits will include legal issues like child custody, property division, alimony and child support.