You’ve probably heard people talking on social media that January is “divorce month.” In other words, more divorces are filed in January than any other month.

Is it true?

MarketWatch says it is.  But their evidence was only anecdotal. They talked to some divorce lawyers who put a number to the divorce cases that come into their practices… They say new cases are 25% to 30% higher than other months.

That’s hardly scientific. But let’s accept it as true for the moment. Why might it be? Some say it’s because many couples want to have one last family holiday season before telling their children they’re getting a divorce. Others say the stress of the holidays pushes some couples over the edge. Still others say that “new year, new you” also applies to married life for some. And in some cases it’s financial: the spouses are waiting for a year-end bonus or other year-end financial event.

A New York Post article on the divorce month trend mentioned some good red flags to watch out for. They say these red flags could signal that a divorce is coming. The financial items they mentioned are also things you should watch for in the divorce process to make sure you’re getting your fair share of the assets and that any spousal or child support is fairly calculated:

  • Lavish spending or cutting back – Significant changes in spending one way or another can signal a problem. Sometimes a spouse is trying to pump up the cost of the marital lifestyle to affect the support calculations that will be made. Other times the spouse is looking to reign in spending for those same support calculations. (This manipulation, of course, is dictated by whether the spouse is on the paying or receiving end of the support.)
  • Spending on personal appearance – Watch for the spouse who is suddenly getting a new wardrobe, signing up for the gym or weight loss programs, or visiting plastic surgeons. It might be a sign of infidelity or plans for a divorce. But the spending could also be tied to manipulating support calculations as mentioned in the point above.

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