Family law attorneys in Arizona and around the country generally deal with a surge of new divorce filings in January. Spouses who wish to end their marriages begin to appear at attorney’s offices on the first Monday after the holiday season has concluded, and the uptick in divorce petitions usually continues for several weeks. This is an annual phenomenon so predictable that many lawyers now refer to the first post-holiday Monday as “Divorce Day”.

Psychologists have several explanations for the annual spike in divorce filings, but most put the trend down to the emotional drain of the holiday season. Some spouses wait until the holidays are over so their decision to end an unhappy marriage does not ruin the festivities for their families and friends while others become swept up in the celebrations and decide to give their relationships one last chance.

The new year is also a time for making resolutions, and for many unhappy spouses that means vowing to no longer put up with behavior that has been making them miserable for years. However, not all January divorce petitions are filed by spouses who have been mulling their options for some time. Tempers often flare during the holiday season, and this can sometimes reveal deep flaws in marriages that seem happy.

Attorneys with family law experience may anticipate this annual uptick in business, and they may take additional time during their initial consultations to ensure that their new clients have considered their options carefully and are not acting impulsively. Attorneys could then explain the steps involved in obtaining a divorce and the importance of entering into negotiations calmly and with a clear plan of action. When amicable discussions do not seem likely, attorneys could suggest alternatives to court such as mediation.