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January is a busy month for divorce lawyers

Many Pennsylvania residents resolve to change their lives as they raise a glass on New Year's Eve, and most of the time these resolutions involve pledges to eat more healthily, take more exercise or pay closer attention to loved ones. However, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the first Monday of January is also one of the busiest days of the year for family law attorneys.

The number of divorce filings surges by about a third in January and remains high until late March, and it is not just divorce lawyers in the United States who have their hands full during the first quarter. A study conducted before the holiday season in the United Kingdom revealed that about 20 percent of married couples planned to divorce after Christmas. Most experts agree that many couples who file for divorces in January planned to end their marriages long before, but they put off taking action because they did not want to cast a pall over the holiday season for their families and friends.

Sometimes, couples have little choice but to wait until after the holidays to pursue a divorce. The period between late November and early January includes several public holidays, and this leads to congested court schedules and long waiting times for an opening. While many couples plan their January divorces well ahead of time, others put off separating because they harbor hopes that their relationships can be salvaged and believe that the season of good will is the perfect time to wipe the slate clean.

While family law attorneys may welcome the increase in business that January ushers in, they could also explain to their clients that ending a marriage is a serious step and should not be taken lightly. Filing for divorce sets events into motion that can be difficult to control, and attorneys may counsel caution when ending a marriage is simply one part of a larger strategy to pursue a fresh start.

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