A year ago, our law firm got some coverage in the local news. In his role as an experienced Family practitioner, Russell Alexander explained to a reporter that in January of each year, the firm typically sees a spike in the number of calls from people asking how to get divorced. In fact, between January 3 and 7th of 2022 the firm received 68 percent more inquiries than during its previously set record in the summer.
This is why the first Monday of January each year is colloquially referred to as “Divorce Day”, meaning the first day that a post-holiday rush on divorce inquiries begins. Russell and a panel of our associate lawyers will even be holding a live virtual event to explain this phenomenon, and will hold a question-and-answer session for the public.
What’s to blame for this annual phenomenon?
Last year, the long pandemic lockdowns, enforced time in close quarters, and festering disputes over COVID-19 topics were speculated to be part of the cause. During the pandemic, those typical relationship annoyances that are usually just “bumps” in a marriage became full-fledged dealbreakers.
But this year, the reasons for the expected upsurge in early-January divorce inquiries might be slightly different:
- Post-pandemic freedom. The height of the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be over. For those struggling couples who were locked-in together, the recent lifting of restrictions may be seen as a chance to finally escape from a bad relationship as well.
- Relief from financial distress. The past few years saw catastrophic global and economic changes. Those effects are starting to flatten, but the poor economy is still putting pressure on individual families. The financial stress of the holidays might put some couples over the edge, especially with the added costs of holiday gift-giving and travel.
- A fresh start. Some people might be motivated by the fresh start that a new year can bring – especially since there are dramatic changes involved in every divorce. Many people make New Year’s resolutions to focus on themselves and improve their lives.
- Waiting, for the kids. Many couples wait until the holidays are over to start their divorce, to avoid disrupting the festivities for their children.
- Planning for tax time. There may also be financial benefits associated with filing for divorce early in the year. For example, many Canadian couples wait until the very end of December to file, because they want to ensure that all assets and debts are accounted for before their tax returns are due to be submitted at the end of April.
Regardless of the motivation, there’s also a practical reality: With all the streamlining to the divorce process itself – made necessary by court closures and physical distancing measures during the pandemic – it’s a much faster process these days. In some cases, an uncomplicated divorce can be shepherded through the Family Justice system from the comfort of home. If divorce is on the horizon, these days there’s really no need to wait for any particular time of year to get the ball rolling.
It’s only a few weeks until January 2023, so time will tell what the New Year holds. Whatever the reason, this might be the year where more of them make it their New Year’s resolution to call it quits – and move on to a better future.
If you are interested in learning more, registration is now open for our upcoming live event being held on Wednesday, January 4th at 12 PM EST.
At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com