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February is one of the most common times for divorce

Photo of Karen Lavin

People who live in Illinois know that winter can sometimes be a dreary time. And, sometimes, these cold months can have effects on relationships. Some people say that divorce is most prevalent during January or February. There seems to be a consensus, however, that more divorces take place after the start of the new year than at any other time during the year.

One of the key reasons behind the surge in divorce during the winter is because many couples want to wait until after the holidays. Having to spend money on buying presents and spending extra time with extended family can put an additional strain on a relationship -- thus pushing one or both partners over the line. In addition, couples with kids are often hesitant to announce their separation and risk ruining the holidays for their children.

A couple may also want to get a divorce to keep from ruining the holidays for each other. The lower the tension involved in divorce proceedings, the better for all parties. Divorces are rarely amiable, but when partners treat each other with respect and take the other spouse's feelings into account, it can keep the anger over the divorce from unduly spilling over into conflicts relating to alimony, property division and child custody. Bitter divorce proceedings are not only more unpleasant, but also, they often last longer and are more costly.

Another reason a person might want to wait until after the holidays to institute a divorce is because he or she has recently received his or her end of the year bonus. Feeling more financially secure helps individuals feel more comfortable in venturing out on their own.

Finally, some couples decide to postpone their divorce until the new year so that they can file taxes jointly. When a couple is married on January 1st, they are allowed to file taxes as if they are married in April -- whether or not they are still married at that time. However, in reality, any divorce begun towards the end of the year is highly unlikely to be complete by the time January 1st arrives, so waiting usually makes little difference in relation to taxes.

Source: wwlp.com, "February often most active month for divorce," Shannon Halligan, Feb. 4, 2013

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