Couples in California may be more likely to file for divorce in January than at any other time of year. Many attorneys say that there is a surge in divorce filings just after the holidays.
There are a few reasons this might be the case. Some people want to give their children a memory of a last good holiday. Others realize during the holidays, which can be stressful, that they no longer want to continue in the marriage. People may decide they want a fresh start in the new year. In states that have a waiting period, including California, couples may want to get the divorce underway as soon as possible after the first of the year.
Some attorneys point out that even though the marriage is ending, people can still make an effort to be kind to one another. In particular, people who have children may have a lifetime relationship as co-parents. It may also be helpful to research divorce and state laws ahead of time.
An attorney may also be able to offer advice even if a person is just thinking about divorce and has not yet made a decision. For example, it can be helpful to get copies of financial documents, such as tax returns and bank statements. People may also want to start thinking about property division and custody. Since California is a community property state, shared property is supposed to be divided equally, but couples who negotiate a divorce agreement may have some flexibility in this division. It is often possible to avoid litigation and reach an agreement about child custody through negotiation as well. Mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods may help even high-conflict couples come to an agreement that satisfies both of them instead of entering into the more adversarial atmosphere of a courtroom.