New Year’s Resolutions Taking Aim at Divorce Decisions
Find out Why January’s Divorce Rate Ranks so High, as People Consider Fresh Starts, Financial Considerations, Maintaining Holiday Harmony, and Emotional Caution in Passaic County, NJ
Although January isn’t the month where the most divorces are filed, it is one of the top three, beaten only by March and November. January is seen as a month of new beginnings, tapping the reset button essentially. There are financial reasons, a desire to keep the holidays pleasant, and a hesitance to change that could affect them emotionally and have serious repercussions if they have children.
Financial Strains and Relationship Tensions Leading to Divorce in January
A large portion of divorces at any time of the year involve family finances, but the holidays can be even more stressful when it comes to money management. They say opposites attract, and if that is the case in the financial area, one spouse is more budget-conscious while the other is parsimonious and reluctant to stray from a budget. Spending a Christmas bonus on gifts, parties, and trips to end the year on a high note may have a thriftier partner stressed and even resentful.
That first credit card bill in January can lead to more arguments. The “financial hangover” experienced by the bacchanal of the holiday season can become a point of contention when the reality of how much was spent is in black and white. The saver often resents having to pay for the financial mishaps of their partner, even when the savings belong to them as a couple. Undisclosed debts such as payday loans or additional credit cards can shock a partner who was incognizant of their existence. If several purchases were made on the sly, a spouse may feel a sense of infidelity or financial betrayal.
When a couple overextends their budget, it can strain the relationship tremendously. Communication is critical, and its absence can ruin a marriage. Finding themselves at an impasse in spending habits can contribute to a divorce due to financial discord.
Psychology Behind New Year’s Resolutions
From the days of Caesar, the New Year has been celebrated on January 1st in the name of Janus, a god who looked to the past and the future. The Romans made sacrifices to Janus, promising good conduct and prosperous harvests. In 1740, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, enacted the Covenant Renewal Service into the church, held on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Serving as an alternative to what religious followers considered the licentious pagan celebrations, the “watch night services” included hymns, prayers, and the making of resolutions for the new year.
A survey conducted by Forbes Health in October of 2023 asked respondents if they would make a New Year’s resolution because of social pressures, and 62% responded in the affirmative. When asked if they would make multiple resolutions, 67% said they would. Over 90% of those polled said they saw the New Year as an opportunity to begin on the right foot and make 2024 a year of self-improvement.
Couples who set resolutions as individuals or in their relationships have an 8% chance of successfully completing them by December 2024, according to an article in Psychology Today. By perceiving the New Year as some miraculous occurrence, a magical reset button that will change everything, resolutions are interpreted as a conduit for guaranteed change. The problem is that many people with the best intentions do not examine the underlying causes of the behavior they want to change, especially regarding marriage, which results in disappointment and frustration for all parties involved.
What Happened to Holiday Joy?
As mentioned before, financial problems are a massive part of marital conflict over the holidays. A full holiday calendar can also be a source of stress. Balancing the obligatory work Christmas party, visits to both sides of the family, gift buying, and activities for the children, the holidays can leave couples physically and emotionally spent. Family gatherings can frequently cause stress. Everything from a mother-in-law’s criticism muttered under their breath to questions from Aunt Tilly about having more (or any) children can increase the pressure on a couple.
Various Reasons for Delayed Divorce Filings until After the Holidays
When a couple has children, they sometimes stay together through the holidays to not ruin the festive mood. To avoid having to answer a litany of questions from friends and relatives at what is supposed to be a celebratory time, couples may postpone filing for divorce. It may be best for the family to get through the holidays if they can co-parent and temporarily keep their conflict under wraps.
Taxes are a factor in delaying divorce. The timing of a divorce has tax implications because your marital status, according to the IRS, is determined by your position as of December 31st. If a divorce is finalized before the end of the year, both spouses are considered single or head of household for those who have legal custody of the children. This means that if the marriage ended legally by December 31st, the tax breaks for individuals are not the same for those under married status. Filing for divorce in January can be beneficial to avoid tax difficulties. Also, if the resolution of a divorce is close to the end of the year, the participants may want to wait until the new year to close that marital chapter.
Finances are another factor in delaying divorce. Divorces, like the holidays, are expensive. A couple wishing to divorce may need time to refill the treasury’s coffers before moving forward with a separation. Thinking ahead to the eventual division of property encourages careful consideration of how each spouse’s financial panorama will be altered.
A couple on the brink of divorce may want to keep a united front through the holidays. The familial fallout once a divorce is made public can be overwhelming for both parties. The holidays are seen as a time of joy and celebration, and to obnubilate them with such bad news can often mean being accused of ruining the family’s Christmas. It is better to manage the collateral damage of extended family piecemeal rather than being interrogated at the annual family gathering.
Announcing your divorce over the holidays means that every year, when the celebrations begin, you will remember the anniversary of your divorce. This could affect your children’s view of Christmas as well. How you handle the separation is crucial to decrease the fallout the split causes.
Filing for Divorce in January in New Jersey? Let our Divorce Attorneys Guide You in the Wake of the New Year
January is a popular month for divorce for a plethora of reasons. In many instances, your financial and emotional needs can determine when you file for divorce. Divorce is a marathon, not a footrace, and requires patience, perseverance, and planning. The attorneys at the Montanari Law Group will support you every step of the way, from the first filing to the final signature. We offer expert legal advice, compassion, and excellent representation. Our seasoned family law attorneys have years of experience working for people just like you who want to move on to another chapter in their lives in Ridgewood, Montclair, Newark, Wyckoff, Ringwood, Wayne, Caldwell, Woodland Park, Hackensack, and elsewhere in New Jersey.
If you or someone you know is interested in filing for divorce in January or any other time of the year, call us at (973) 233-4396 or toll-free at (888) 877-7985 to discuss the next steps in your divorce. For your convenience, you can also contact us online to request a free consultation.