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Holiday season known for leading to surge in divorce filings

The end-of-year holiday season offers many families in Indiana an opportunity to spend quality time together. For people in troubled marriages, however, the holiday season often represents a final period of family togetherness before people announce that they are filing for divorce in January. Family law attorneys generally agree that they experience a surge in new clients and divorce filings in the first weeks of the New Year.

Academic research validates the anecdotal experiences within the legal community. A university study in 2016 analyzed divorces filings from 2001 to 2015 and consistently measured an increase in divorce cases in January compared to December. Search trends at Google also show that internet searches related to divorce reach their highest levels in the second week of January. From December to January, searches by Pinterest users for subjects like "divorce party" go up by approximately 21%.

For the most part, people choose this timing because they want to delay disruption until after family holidays. Stress associated with spending the holidays with disgruntled spouses motivates a few people to take action in January so that they can be free of unwanted family obligations in the coming year.

Filing for divorce requires the completion of specific court paperwork and the negotiation of a settlement for the marital estate. A person might seek out legal advice during this process to gain an understanding about rights to certain assets and child custody. An attorney might evaluate the person's finances and explain how the law might divide the property. A person also has an opportunity to negotiate the divorce terms out of court, and an attorney might assist with this process. A legal representative may limit conflict between the two parties by helping a client focus on long-term family needs instead of old arguments.

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