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Seasonal fluctuations in divorce filings

Many people in New Jersey and around the country have learned this month that friends or family members are contemplating a divorce. A legal website looked at patterns in divorce filings and search engine data from 2008 to 2011 and found that the number of filings seemed to spike during the early months of each year covered. There are several reasons why this could be taking place.

It might be ascribed to spouses not wanting to create discord during the December holiday season, when families frequently come together, perhaps from long distances, to be together. In this scenario, the spouse wanting to end the marriage might be grinning and bearing it until the holidays are over. Another reason could be that filing taxes for a complete year as a married couple may be simpler than figuring out two different rates or trying to work out who will claim what on their return.

No matter what the reason, after the jump in filings in January, they rise through February before peaking at the end of March, and maybe it is not a coincidence that this is just two weeks before taxes are due. The legal site's analysis of search engine terms shows that phrases such as "custody" and "family law" increase 50 percent from December to January, showing that some may already be thinking of a split even if they have not yet acted.

No matter what time of year divorce issues arise, emotions may run high between the spouses. To help the process go more smoothly, a family law attorney may be able to help negotiate a divorce settlement agreement on behalf of a client.

Source: CNN, "In January, 'ex' marks the spot", Sarah LeTrent, January 17, 2014

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