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Divorce filings predicted to spike in the New Year

Often thought of as a time for family and reconnecting, it might come as a surprise that the time directly following the holiday season tends to show a drastic increase in divorces. Far from being isolated to Oregon, this phenomenon can be seen across the country, with the rate of divorce filings increasing throughout the first few months of the year. While the holidays do not exactly cause this sudden annual increase, the time of year still plays a role.

In general, December experiences one of the lowest rates of divorce filings throughout the year. What this results in is a sudden spike in filings in January that ultimately reaches a pinnacle a few months later in March. Data following this trend goes back to at least 2008 with one popular legal research database and other information based sources have also followed this trend for several years.

There are a number of thoughts behind the sudden dip and then increase in filings, although it is likely that no single explanation accounts for every divorce. One hypothesis points to spending during the holidays, when people tend to put their cash toward gifts or holiday travel rather than a divorce. The eventual build-up to the most filings in March could be explained by couples taking the time to either save up money or to decide what route they should take when divorcing, such as mediation or traditional litigation.

Trends in divorce filings can help experts and researchers understand societies and cultures as a whole, but each couple is still unique in its needs during a divorce. Some Oregon couples have children and need to work out a support and custody order before finalizing a divorce, while others might have significant assets to divide without any type of guidance from a prenuptial agreement. Even if a couple does choose to divorce in the ensuing months, it is important that the parties take the time through whatever means available to ensure that the resulting divorce settlement is fair and agreeable to both parties.

Source: miamiherald.com, "Studies show couples wait until after holidays to divorce", Tim Grant, Dec. 14, 2015

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