Destabilizing speculation

Has the pandemic changed the “January of divorce”?

divorce rate january america

Oh, January. The month of diets, detoxification and… divorce?

Or at least that’s what January was like before COVID arrived and turned everything upside down. Now, diets are over (or they should be), detoxes are especially tough (no one separates me from my coffee when the world is collapsing), and couples…weather through the storm together.

The month that was once known in some circles as “divorce January” is shaping up to be something else.

‘Divorce January’ isn’t just a quiet vacation time

Before wondering if and how “Divorce January” has changed, it’s important to understand why “Divorce January” even exists. Are people just acting on their New Year’s resolutions? Are they waiting for the end of the holidays to destabilize their lives? Or, with tax season on the horizon and year-end bonuses earned and recognized, is the idea of ​​”Divorce January” grounded in something far more practical and financial?

The answer is probably a mixture of all of the above.

“People don’t want to upset the apple basket during the holidays, and they want a peaceful Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year. And then, because they don’t want to spend another fucking year with their spouse, as soon as the vacation is over, they unplug the plug and file,” said Alton Abramowitz, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. , in an interview with Reuters.

Divorce rates have been falling for a year and a half

Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project and professor at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, recently discussed the “January divorce” in an interview with WGN-Radio.

The pandemic didn’t do the wedding what most experts expected, he said. Divorce rates have actually been falling for the past year and a half. He said: “When the pandemic first hit… in March 2020, [there was] lots of speculation that we would see a big spike in divorce…. But what we see is that, overall, marriage has grown stronger during the pandemic. In the face of trials and tribulations, people turned to their spouse.

While there’s a chance we’ll see an increase in divorce filings in January and the following months, he doesn’t think “divorce January” will look like it has in other years. Surveys in 2020 found that more people felt their marriage was important to them and felt gratitude towards their marriage.

“I think the story that comes out of all of this is that in general people are more likely to stick with their marriages,” Wilcox said. “Marriage is one of the few sources of social solidarity and financial stability in this country.”

In a way, the idea that marriages are getting stronger in the face of the pandemic is heartwarming. At least to the extent that everything in this pandemic can be comforting.