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Divorce Rates Rise as the Holiday Season Ends

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2015 | Family Law

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to jump back into work, religiously follow those New Year’s resolutions, and…get a divorce?

According to www.finance.yahoo.com, yes. The first Monday of the year sees a surge in divorce filings. That trend continues throughout the month of January. The first Monday of January is so notorious in the divorce attorney world that it is actually known as “Divorce Monday.” And it’s not just in the United States either: the United Kingdom also reports that 1 in 5 couples make plans to divorce after the holidays, per a survey conducted by Irwin Mitchell and Yahoo Finance.

The reasoning behind the surge may be related to the reluctance of dissolving families during the holidays, starting around Thanksgiving. Some may sentimentally want one last holiday season with an intact family. Additionally, it is difficult to find time on court dockets around the holidays. People who do file their Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the New Year, however, generally want the divorce completed by the end of the year so that the newly single persons can file their 2016 taxes as a single person.

However, not everyone is getting divorced. You can’t get divorced if you’re not married, which is increasingly becoming the norm among one generation of Americans: Millennials. According to CNN Money, young adults today are on track to have the lowest rates of marriage by age 40 than any other generation. In fact, more than 30% of Millennial women will remain unmarried by age 40, per an Urban Institute report, states CNN. Marriage rates dropped drastically during the Great Recession when money was tight and jobs were scarce. Current marriage rates among Millennials vary depending on race and socioeconomic status.

As interesting as both the divorce filing surge and the marriage plummet are, CNN Money published another article asking whether we really care how many Americans are getting divorced or married anymore. To that end, the Census Bureau has proposed eliminating several questions on the American Community Survey relating to marriage and divorce and instead moving them to the “low benefit and low cost category.” Is this a good idea? Do we still care how many people are getting married or divorced, or when they are doing it?

Certain experts assert that we should care. They state that changes to this survey could lead to a large data hole regarding social and economic changes in the American family. This hole could affect everything from social research to Social Security. Information and data from the answers are used to inform government policy and other federal-level decisions.

And while Census isn’t the only way to track marital status, it is the most accurate and current source of marriage and divorce data. Without it, for example,we wouldn’t have discovered the baby boomer’s high rate of divorce. Interestingly, not all states report marriage and divorce data. States that do not, like California, account for a whopping 20% of the population. Ultimately, the Office of Management Budget will decide whether to keep or eliminate the questions. If any changes are made, they would go into effect in 2016.

These recent trends in marriage and divorce are interesting for a variety of reasons, but as a society, continuing to track them is imperative to help shape government policy and track changes in the current American family.

If you find yourself in the position of divorcing, contact the attorneys at Saunders Law Group today. We can guide you through this emotionally draining process.


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