Both hard research findings and a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence suggest that many couples thinking hard about divorce in the latter months of the year opt to wait instead and pull the plug on failed marriages earlier the following year.

The reasons are various, but tend to coalesce around a few fundamental concerns. First, as to the continuing marital unit through the end of the year, unhappy couples are often focused in November and December on simply enduring the remainder of the year, getting through the holidays as an intact family. Especially where children are involved, many couples are hesitant or outright implacable about not marching through a marriage dissolution proceeding at the same time that they are hanging out with relatives and in-laws and opening gifts. That can be immensely frustrating, tiring and stressful. Coupled with a divorce proceeding, it can be flatly intolerable.

And so they wait. One family law expert, Kathryn Dickerson, says, though, that the wait is not often for long once the holidays have passed and January has kicked in. Her personal experience indicates that men are much more often adamantly resolved than women to end an unhappy marriage as soon as possible after the holiday season has passed.

Dickerson says that, whereas "women are tired, they're let down, the stress is over, and they just want to breathe for a little bit," the same is not often true for their spouses. "For men," she continues, "they've gotten through the holidays, maintained the image of a family for as long as they could, and they're ready to move forward."

Dickerson also states that the failing economy has forced many couples to remain together longer than they otherwise would have. She predicts that, as the economy improves, the divorce rate will go up.

Related Resource: www.wtop.com "New Year's resolution: Get divorced?" December 29, 2010