Divorce in January
January, for many businesses, is a slow time. Retail shops are coming off the hectic holidays, and consumers are starting to see the bills from their holiday spending come through. While the bills can sometimes be high, some couples pay more for the hustle and bustle of a busy holiday season in the form of stress on their marriage. This phenomenon has caused my business to boom in January.
Now, outside of infidelity or abuse, the dissolution of a marriage usually can’t be attributed to one particular event or incident. So, marriages that are already feeling the pain of financial problems or general disagreeableness are put into a pressure cooker during our evermore eventful holiday season.
Imagine a couple, let’s call them Rick and Rita. Rick is putting in 60+ hours a week at a mid-level management job, while Rita is working 32 hours and also tending to the needs of their two children, Roy and Rachel. After school programs now cost a significant amount of money, the family is paying a mortgage, car payments, and at the end of every month, they are scraping to get by. This, of course, leads to arguments about money.
Now, November rolls around, and Rick and Rita are expected to host Thanksgiving for their extended family. Because of the diaspora of the nuclear family, many relatives are traveling great distances, and will be staying the entire weekend. Hosting overnight guests, preparing a large meal, and generally entertaining the family is taxing.
So, they fight.
Rick and Rita survive Thanksgiving, only to be faced with Black Friday, and the insanity of American consumerism. The ads, the messages, all geared at getting Rick and Rita to feel guilty for not doing enough, while simultaneously causing Roy and Rachel to demand the latest and greatest high tech toys.
Again, more fighting.
This would seem to be more and more couples, with stagnant wages over the past decade, and employers demanding more and more out of their workforce. Couples are spending less time together, being paid less for their work efforts, and facing increasing pressure to provide picture-perfect holidays.
There are many articles and studies done about the rise of stress during the holidays. So if spouses are already under the gun, ratcheting up the pressure of dealing with in-laws, demanding children, and the general pressure placed on the consumer by advertising to keep up with the Jones’, can often lead to the filing of a divorce.
Another factor that works in concert with this tremendous pressure is the issue of filing for divorce DURING a holiday. With so much going on, adding the stress of a divorce in the middle of planning parties and shopping for gifts is more than most can handle. In addition, the vast majority of married couples still tend to make the needs of their children paramount, and adding a serious trauma to a child’s holiday season is not something most would do.
Given this, it is of no surprise that more divorce cases are filed in January than any other month. It is the culmination of a perfect storm of underlying issues, societal ills, and the desire to place the needs of children above all.
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