January means a new year and a new life apart for many married couples.
Divorce lawyers say their business always booms in the first month of the year with people wanting to call it quits.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, it’s a busy time of year at Alton Abramowitz’s office in Midtown, Manhattan, during what’s been unofficially dubbed “divorce month.”
“What I very often hear is: ‘I’m not going to spend another New Year’s Eve with that person,’” he said.
Abramowitz has been a divorce attorney for 45 years and says in January he’s always busy handling new clients who kept the peace during the holidays and are now rushing to cut ties. Many are unprepared and don’t know their rights.
“They’re committing to give too much or they were willing to accept too little,” he said.
He and Chris Schiffer, a certified financial planner who specializes in divorces, say the first piece of advice is to seek legal and financial advice before calling it quits.
“You should start with a financial planner,” said Schiffer. “And why? Can they afford to get divorced?”
He says never allow emotions or vengeance to steer divorce demands.
“What that is is, they’re trying to get more than they’re entitled to,” he said. “Second biggest mistake is people look to get the house and they get it, and they try to keep it and find out they can’t afford it.”
Abramowitz says sometimes people are better off staying together on paper but living separate lives.
“There are cases where I discourage it, where they may lose significant rights, particularly if they’re elderly clients and there are social security benefit issues or pension issues,” he said.
“Maybe try divorce counseling first, and maybe some things can be resolved, maybe it isn’t so bad,” said Schiffer.
Many family therapists say January is a busy time for them too, with unhappy couples resolving to make their marriages work.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the number of divorces nationwide has actually reached an all-time low of approximately three divorces per 1,000 married couples.