March is the Most Popular Month for Divorce

At least according to, the popular online legal information site, which reports that searches for terms like “divorce” and “child custody,” are at their highest in the third month of the year.  Researchers for Findlaw also analyzed divorce cases commenced between 2008 and 2011 in courts across the nation.  They discovered that new divorce filings begin to increase in January of a given year, with the peak occurring in March.

The news release has prompted quite a bit of press, with a number of commentators speculating on why exactly March is the most popular month for divorce.  The consensus seems to be that a mixture of emotional and practical factors prompt unhappy marrieds to wait until March to file for divorce, such as the desire to stay together through the holidays for the sake of children or the tax benefits available to a married couple at the end of the year.

In addition, factors such as the financial and personal stresses of the recent holidays,  higher rates of infidelity during the holiday months, or just the simple New Year’s realization that one cannot spend yet another year in an unhappy marriage, may also explain the high number of new divorce filings in March.

So, for better or for worse,  it appears that we can now add “filing for divorce” to the list of March milestones like March Madness, St. Patrick’s Day, and the First Day of Spring. Makes you wonder whether March is giving April some competition for “cruelest month.”

See more commentary on this subject here and here.

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