Do the holidays lead to divorce?

A couple of months ago I had a post on divorce and made a vague reference to the fact that the holidays lead to divorce.  A reader asked the great question of why is that so and I hopefully can answer that today.  All of this is true for child custody and visitation battles.  There are three main reasons I can think of:

1.       Family time. Holiday celebrations can be good, or bad, depending on the family. What is meant to be enjoyable time with family can quickly become a time of stress, fighting and failed expectations. For many people, holidays also involve partying. This atmosphere can result in the perfect storm, bringing problems to the surface, not to mention lots of drama.  

2.       Self reflection. Holidays are a break from the daily grind. With a change in routine, there is time to stop and evaluate things. It can make you realize your relationships aren’t what they used to be, or what you want them to be. It’s a time when many people decide to make a fresh start.

3.       The deadline. Often, a holiday is used as a deadline for making a major decision, such as whether to divorce. Maybe you promised yourself that you would stick things out until the end of the year, or give it one last try for the holidays. The deadline comes and goes, and people end up filing for divorce shortly after a holiday.

Divorces won’t spike in December, but people will begin to consult with lawyers and we always see a huge filing increase in January as well as in April when people get their tax refunds.  So if your Christmas wish is to get rid of your spouse, but you just don’t have the guts to do it, don’t be surprised if they beat you to the punch.


Legal tip of the day from Rockford Family Law attorney Donald Ray: For parents that receive child support and the State of Illinois Department of Health care and Family Services is involved in your case you should always send an Income Withholding Notice to the employer by certified mail. You are allowed to do this and should to protect your rights. The State rarely sends this required document by certified mail and you can not sue the employer for their mistakes if only regular mail was used.



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  • This is why I follow the Chinese Calendar, rather than the western Gregorian Calendar, full of crazy holidays like Thanksgiving and Flag Day.

    My woman better not walk-out on me during the Year of the Rabbit.

  • I started working in a law office in December. My boss assured me that while it was slow, I shouldn't worry: divorce season would be hitting around February and things would pick up. I thought he was nuts until he explained: nobody wants to get divorced around the holidays. No one wants to ruin their kids' Christmas. So everyone sucks it up until after the holidays are over, and then drop the bomb. Three years later, I've found he's mostly right.

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