January is probably the worst month of the year. The holidays are over, it's still cold and gray, and at least February holds out the promise of clearance Valentine's Day chocolate. Maybe that's why—according to CNN, at least—it's the month everyone gets cracking on their D-I-V-O-R-C-E.

CNN investigates the idea (which is apparently pretty prevalent?) that January is the month where marriages go to die. And it's not toooo far from the truth:

While marital psychologists and divorce lawyers say January's more accurate description would be "I'm Starting to Research My Options Month," they agree there is some accuracy in the nomenclature.

FindLaw.com's analysis of American divorce filings between 2008 and 2011, with legal research service Westlaw, revealed a spike in divorces in January, followed by a rise and peak in late March.

Plus: "Searches for 'divorce' and related phrases like 'family law' and 'child custody' jumped 50% from December to January, and continued to swell through March."

So it's not exactly the official month for divorces—but it is pretty much the kickoff for the spring divorce season. (Something similar happens in September, too.)

CNN floats several theories, from financial considerations (i.e., wanting a piece of the year-end bonus) to the desire to make a fresh start in the New Year. But mostly, it sounds like the holidays interfere with divorce plans, just like they interfere with everything else:

"People don't want to be accused by friends, family that they were heartless right before Christmas," says Miles Mason, a Memphis-based family and divorce lawyer.

"If somebody is coming to us in January, they made the decision to come see me or a lawyer before the holidays."


Hey, the universe has to balance out "engagement season" somehow.

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