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The start of the year is peak season for divorce filings

While most couples celebrate their love on Valentine’s Day, the sad reality is January and March is when most marriages split up.iStock/iStock

While most couples celebrate their love on Valentine’s Day, the sad reality is January and March is when most marriages split up.

As the yule log’s embers died and resolutions for a new year — and a new you — abounded at the start of January, family attorneys everywhere, including myself, prepared for the influx of official separations and divorce filings.

In the divorce law community, we generally adhere to three truths. Engagement season is November to February. And divorce, sadly, has two high seasons — January and March.

For January’s bump, the let-down of failed holiday happiness, mixed with hurt and angry partners, often leads to a trip to the divorce lawyer to discuss their options.

My office is usually filled with spouses who truly thought that if they could just make it past the holidays and New Year, they could heal their marriage.

However, the holidays usually end up being the last straw before the matrimonial bliss takes a tumble.

In addition to failed expectations, financial and family pressures soar in November and December.

According to a 2012 study published in The Family Relations Journal, “Examining the Relationship Between Financial Issues and Divorce,” researchers Jeffrey Dew, Sonya Britt and Sandra Huston found that most couples argue about their children, money, in-laws and quality time — or a lack thereof — with financial arguments being the most likely predicter of divorce.

So if you, too, have felt outraged by a lack of holiday joy in your partner, I offer a few words to the wise on how to make the post-holiday bliss transition from unhappily married to single and ready to mingle.

Be sure

Sit down with your partner to discuss the ramifications on your children, your finances and your lifestyles. Perhaps the new year’s “new beginning” mantra is a good time to sit with a couples’ therapist.

If you are 75% sure…

Still meet with a couples’ therapist, but meet with a divorce lawyer as well.

Filing for an official separation is the first step, but does still give you an out should you choose to give it another go.

Don’t let Valentine’s Day disappoint you

So many couples set benchmarks for when they will finally be happy. One holiday can’t transform a marriage. If you had a bad New Year, that won’t magically transform just because Hallmark tells you it has to.

March

True divorce season. Pull the plug. Google “divorce lawyers.” Make it official.

David Mejias is a Long Island attorney specializing in family law and divorce. He is a managing partner at Mejias, Milgrim & Alvarado (mylongislandlawyers.com), where he has practiced law for 18 years. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Long Island Hispanic Bar Foundation, the charitable branch of the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association, where he has previously served as president. In 2003, Mejias became the first Latino elected to the Nassau County Legislature, where he served from 2004 to 2010. You can reach him on Twitter @DaveMejias.

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