Start on January 1

The month of January is known as “divorce month”. Courts all over the country see an uptick in divorce filings in January. But, why do people get divorced in January more than any other month?

Website statistics show an 84% increase in searches related to divorce in January.

The holidays mark a festive period for families, one where memories are made and couples try to rebuild or fix their failing relationships. But while the holidays can be a joyous and happy time for families, they can also represent a turning point for couples who are experiencing problems in their marriages. This period can be full of overwhelming stress, familial tension, and financial burdens – all of which can put even more pressure on already strained relationships. And it is this pressure which can expose flaws in a marriage.

Most couples wait until the holidays are over before starting the divorce process. This could be because they want to protect their children and allow them to enjoy the holidays. It could also be a couple’s last-ditch effort to see if the marriage can work itself out.

In most cases, though, when the holidays are over, couples who tolerated each other during the festive period decide to take the plunge and file for divorce – which is why January sees such a sharp spike in divorce rates.

The arrival of the New Year not only marks the end of the festive season, but it also brings hope for change and fresh beginnings – and in some cases, the end of a marriage. And once the dust from holiday commitments settles, the first change many people look to make is in their marriage. This is just one of the reasons why January is such a popular month for divorce inquiries and filings.

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.