Is January National Divorce Month?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | 8:04 pm

As many of us counted down the seconds to the New Year, some couples were counting down the last seconds of their marriage. Well, sort of. According to recent articles by CNN and the Huffington Post, January is on the rise to be “National Divorce month.”

It made us wonder about the reality of this claim, so we spoke to family law attorney Casey Marticorena, a partner at the Law Offices of Donald P. Schweitzer here in Pasadena, to find out if January as “Divorce month” rings true in our hometown.

“January tends to be a busy month for our firm,” said Ms. Marticorena. “While some people may think that a person wakes up on January 1st and adds ‘divorce’ to their list of New Year’s resolutions, I’d say the idea of divorce doesn’t happen overnight.”

Marticorena continues by explaining that while the request for filing for a divorce does increase in January, many of the couples seeking divorce have planted the seed several months before. “Many individuals will come to us in early fall to start talking about what they need to prepare for the divorce filing. Those with children tend to place the process on hold during the holidays. Once the new year hits, we tend to see many familiar faces ready to move forward with the filing.”

And it’s not just January and February that are popular months for divorce. Summer months are also busy times for the Pasadena-based family law firm. “There is definitely a divorce-filing pattern among couples with children. Parents don’t want to interfere with their children’s school, so they tend to time the filing for divorce during the summer months when kids are on vacation and have more time to acclimate to the change.”

What about the individuals who would like to seek a divorce in the New Year. We can’t criticize their motion for change, so we asked Marticorena what advice she would give those considering a divorce, and she gave us five solid steps to consider:

• Counseling. While starting a new chapter in your life via divorce may sound like the right path, Marticorena suggests exhausting marriage guidance resources, such as couples counseling, individual counseling, etc. to make sure divorce is the right next step for you and your spouse.

- Finances. While your finances as a married couple may have been a well-oiled machine, keep in mind that your household income that once covered the living expenses of one household will have to be divided to cover two households. Additionally, the income will have to support the attorney’s fees for the divorce.

- Paper trail. Marticorena placed a big emphasis on getting your paperwork in order prior to filing for divorce. Documents include property deeds, bank and investment statements, retirement and stock statements, etc. It’s best to meet with a family lawyer for a checklist of needs to begin the process and collect as many, if not all, of the documents prior to the filing. “Once the divorce is filed, retrieval of paper work will have to be executed through a formal discovery, which can be an expensive process,” explains Marticorena. “Spend the time now, especially while you have access, to retrieve those documents to save the cost of the formal process through your family law attorney.”

- Communicate with your children. Work together with your spouse to talk to your children about the divorce. Consult with a child counselor or specialist on the best way to approach the topic and support your children during this change.

- It’s important to work with a lawyer who practices exclusively in family law and child custody versus a general practitioner who handles different types of cases. Family law, especially cases that involve child custody, can be very sensitive so it’s best to have an experienced, family law attorney helping you make the right decisions that affect the future of you and your children.

While we can’t quite claim that January is divorce month, perhaps we can accept that the “J” months – January, June, July – tend to carry the weight of divorce filings during the year.

The Law Offices of Donald P. Schweitzer is located at 201 South Lake Ave. For more information, call (626) 683-8113 or visit http://www.pasadenalawoffice.com.

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