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The peak of the Ohio divorce season

Once the bustle of the big holidays is over, Columbus settles in to several months of cold weather. Matrimonial attorneys routinely report a upswing in divorce clients just after the first of the year, an uptick that lasts about three months.

Researchers learned divorce requests rise steadily from January through March, but no official study explains why more spouses choose the first three months to divorce over other times of year. Legal advisers suggest the temporary spike may have several reasons.

Some attorneys believe spouses wait to break up to avoid family disruption during the upbeat holiday season. Spouses, especially couples with children, may not want future holidays to be clouded by memories of divorce. Other observers believe spouses make a last ditch effort to repair marital problems before year's end.

New Year's resolutions often include life-changing promises. Among them may be a vow to end an unhappy relationship. March divorce rates are the highest of the three months, possibly due to the minimum 90-day period many states require spouses to wait before a divorce is granted.

Couples also may delay the end of a marriage for tax purposes. Filing statuses are determined a taxpayer's marital situation on the last day of the year. Since joint tax filings are generally more beneficial than single-status tax returns, spouses stay together until the tax year passes.

Not every spouse who calls a family law attorney wants an immediate divorce. Fact-finding consultations are common. Spouses want to know more about child custody, support and property division before coming to a final decision.

Although married couples divorce more often during the first part of the year than other times, not every spouse is ready to jump ship the moment a new year begins or tax year changes. Divorce decisions can take months or years. The final choice may have nothing to do with the date on a calendar.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "From January to March, the divorce rate rises" Kim Lyons, Jan. 27, 2014

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