Research: Divorces tend to spike in January - WNEM TV 5

Research: Divorces tend to spike in January

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Divorce is often an emotionally wrenching time for couples.

In the United States, about 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.

While divorce rates differ among classes and generations, filing seems to rise in January.

Research by the Institute for Family Studies shows December has the lowest divorce rate of the year and January has the highest.

"Most people don't like the idea of saying that they want a divorce and calling it out and dealing with it through the holiday season," said Dr. Thomas Haller, parenting and relationship expert.

He said because of the stress of the holidays and the well-being of the children, most couples put up with each other never even realizing their marriage is falling apart until January when it all sinks in.

"'I thought everything was fine.' 'I thought we were getting along great.' And what they were is just stuffing their feelings and waiting for the moment til after the holiday," Haller said.

Divorce lawyers, like Susan Brady, said they notice the trend too. For them, the calls start coming in in December.

"Most of the time they say 'I'm going to wait until after the holidays are over before I file,'" Brady said.

Even though there's an increased number of divorces in January, lawyers like Brady said they want to make sure their clients know what they are getting into before they sign those papers.

"When they come in in December I think, you always have that conversation with them. Do you want to wait until after the holidays or not? Because you know, just the nature of the holidays," Brady said.

Haller said before you consider divorce, try initiating simple conversations with your spouse. He recommends avoiding touchy topics like money, in-laws or kids. Instead, focus on your goals or aspirations for the relationship.

"What the research shows is when those couples spend just 20 minutes four times a week doing that, the light-hearted fun discussions, they are more happier in their relationships and we see more longevity," Haller said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of divorce in Michigan has been decreasing for years. It was at 2.9 per 1,000 in 2016, which was down from 4.3 per 1,000 in 1990.

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