Why does new year bring divorce filings?

Every January, it seems divorce suits are filed at almost double the rate of December divorce filings. Is this because people slow down at the end of the year, rethink their goals, or maybe just hope for one last chance at the magic reappearing around the holidays (and then when it does not, they file in January)? I am not sure, but what I do know is that as soon as the new year hits, the phones ring. Perhaps it is that sense of not wanting to live one more year in the same situation, or not wanting to spend one more year hoping that things will get better.

We all want to improve our lives. For most of us, divorce is a very last option. And perhaps, one sign of needing to use that “last option” is the realization that time is passing. The end of one year and the start of another is a good benchmark to make that point. Perhaps this is why the term “fresh beginnings” is often heard in our office. The decision to divorce is never easy. It means lots of change. Perhaps the idea that there will be a whole year to get through it, and that hopefully by the end of the year the change will be complete, makes it more digestible? I would be foolish to suggest I know the answer. And of course, the reasons for filing for divorce vary from situation to situation. But it is clear that divorce filings increase each January, and perhaps understanding why would help us all?

I welcome all opinions, especially from those in the fields of psychology or other studies of human nature. Please feel free to comment or email me your thoughts.