In this episode, Attorney Brad Tengler and Geoff Carter discuss the increase in divorce around the “holiday of love.” Studies have shown that February sees an 18 percent increase in divorces over other months. Tune in to learn more about the possible causes for the increase.
Brad: Law Talk does not give not give legal advice. It is a source of information for people suffering the effects of divorce or who have ended long term relationships. If you need legal advice, please retain an attorney in your own jurisdiction.
Brad: Good evening folks and welcome to Divorce Talk Radio. This is attorney Brad Tengler in the studio with Geoff Carter.
Geoff: What’s going on Brad how you doing?
Brad: Doing fantastic. How are you Geoff?
Geoff: I’m doing pretty good.
Geoff: What’s going on here? You’ve got a topic coming up here, Valentine’s Day. You know, the day of love, roses, all that sweetness.
Brad: And divorce, Geoff.
Geoff: No way.
Brad: Believe it or not, divorce.
Geoff: Before and after, I’m guessing.
Brad: Before and after. And between, weeks before, weeks after. Studies indicate that divorce filings in February are 18% higher than any other month during the course of the year.
Geoff: One thing I heard was that’s also because families that were thinking about getting divorced wanted to wait until after the holidays to kind of do the whole family thing with the pictures and eat together. And then I’m leaving you.
Brad: I can imagine it’s a bunch of different factors. You’ve got people not wanting to go through that kind of drama during the holiday season.
Brad: You have an increase in financial stress after the holiday season from all the spending during the holiday season.
Geoff: Yeah. Billing and the credit cards and everything. Now you’re going to try to pay them off with taxes.
Brad: And everybody gets their W2s on or about January 30th. January 31st. And so they file their taxes and have the tax returns to file for divorce.
Geoff: Can I ask you a question? This is kind of random. I think I’ve asked you this before. But what’s the cost… Is there a different price? Does it depend, like the actual fee that you pay to file?
Brad: That depends on the county.
Geoff: Oh okay.
Brad: Every county has their own fee system for filing a divorce. That necessarily doesn’t hold people back. Because if you are in a certain realm of the poverty level, you can file a pauper’s petition and get the fee waved.
Brad: Yeah. You can get the fee waved in certain financial circumstances.
Geoff: Really? I didn’t know that. I got something that might be able to help.
Brad: Yeah. But there still is a fee associated with it. And it appears as if during the Valentine’s Day season, i.e. February, that divorces are on the rise as a general rule.
Geoff: Yeah it’s too bad. I’m sorry. I mean now that I talk to most of my friends now. Though you know, I talk to them and this is such a small amount of my friends, in their 30’s, they have their parents still together. Like almost everyone’s divorced or remarried or divorced twice and remarried.
Brad: It’s unfortunate.
Brad: It’s unfortunate.
Geoff: It’s good for divorce attorneys, though. I have to say.
Brad: There’s a movie coming out. There’s a movie coming out called… Or, it just came out. It’s independent. It’s called Divorce Court. Actually we need to do a podcast on that some time.
Geoff: You haven’t seen it yet though?
Brad: I haven’t seen it yet. It’s an independent film. It’s coming out or just came out. But it talks about the whole divorce industry. And yeah, I mean absolutely. Divorce attorneys, we make good money on helping people through a divorce. But I don’t think that is a contributing factor to the divorce rate in the United States. There’s all kinds of changes. We’ve got religious changes, we’ve got cultural changes, all kinds of things. Probably poverty and during economic difficult times that puts more stress on families, which increases the divorce rate. But February is a season where, according to a CNN study, there are 18% more divorce filings than any other month.
Geoff: I was going to ask if there was a time… Can you suggest people? Like if you were thinking about filing for divorce. Is there a better or worse time? Not really? I mean…
Brad: What do you mean by better time to get a divorce?
Geoff: I don’t know. I don’t know, I’m guessing like if they were like well, if I should have to wait until a certain time, when would you say? Like would it be better if you do it during the summer? I don’t know. That’ a random question no?
Brad: Actually in some ways, probably this time of year is the best time. Is a better time to file for a divorce then say, October. If you file for a divorce in October you might have heated arguments in court in November and December right around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Who wants that? Nobody wants that.
Brad: Obviously if they are domestic violence issues, if there are abuse issues, if there’s things that require that something gets on file right away, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. But if you can plan it in some way. I always tell people, work out Christmas in July. Meaning, go to mediation, talk through a visitation schedule, talk through a parenting time schedule in July. Do not wait until the fall. Because then you have all that stress to add to the holiday season. So Geoff, get divorced around February.
Brad: Happy Valentine’s Day.
Brad: One last date. One last romantic dinner. And boom. File, if you’re going to file.
Brad: Not that I’m encouraging divorce, Geoff.
Brad: Because I don’t.
Geoff: I wish I had video on here to show what you look like when you do that. Wow.
Brad: We could always do that, too.
Geoff: Yeah. There you go.
Brad: So it looks like there are five factors, Geoff, that contribute to divorce specifically around this time of year. Really, probably any time of year. But I can imagine most of these or some of these are heightened around this time of year. Because you’re right after the holidays, there’s all the stress that’s coming out of that. And it probably contributes to divorce in our culture.
Geoff: Well if I could tell you what I’ve heard. I’ve heard that financial wise and money is like one of the top reasons why relationships or marriages fail.
Brad: Absolutely. Heck yeah. I mean imagine all of the stress that that puts on people. They’re fighting about money. It’s going to create problems in your marriage.
Geoff: I notice that. I’ve had those problems in my relationships in the past or whatever. And yeah. You argue about what you really need to start saving money for, or if you want some personal stuff for yourself and she gets mad that you got money on the side. It’s always some type of problem that adds up. A lot of it has to do with the cost of kids’ stuff. I mean it’s ridiculous. A lot of people kind of forget to put that money aside to make sure you had enough money for new shoes or new outfits or pictures or whatever because all of that stuff adds up.
Brad: Sure. And think about at this time of year right after the holiday season. There’s all kinds of debt.
Geoff: Oh right.
Brad: All kinds of debt. Credit card debt, dad debt. It’s going to add stress to your marriage and then people end up filing for divorce.
Geoff: Not good.
Brad: But obviously that’s not the only factor. We’ve also got things like addictions.
Geoff: Which could be a lot of things. I mean most people might say drugs or alcohol. But gambling is another huge one. Of course, that goes back to financial.
Brad: Sure. I guess I’m specifically thinking about some kind of substance.
Geoff: Oh all right.
Brad: And you know, as people come through the holidays and maybe they were drinking more. Or maybe they got depressed. And so turned to substances. And that then affects them after the holiday season in January, February.
Geoff: Well they say the holiday season is the highest rate of when somebody decides to commit suicide. I mean because you’re depressed about money, you’re depressed about relationships, you’re depressed about work or whatever. I mean and then a lot of people turn to addiction first and then go from there. It’s crazy.
Brad: Yep. Spousal abuse and conflict. I mean think about this winter in Northern Illinois. We’ve got people in bad… Caged in their homes. With -20 degree weather. And tons of snow. And conflicts happens, domestic violence happens. And that’s going to cause divorce. As it should. I mean…
Geoff: But not only that, what people have to understand. I understand the marriage, or the relationship is super important. That domestic abuse or whatever is on your record, I mean some of those felonies, they can never come off, right? Like domestic battery? Some of those stay, depending on the severity, stay a lifetime on your record. So it’s not just, you know, you have to really think twice about lifting your hand or whatever.
Brad: Oh absolutely. I mean domestic violence is a serious issue in probably a lot of relationships. And it’s addressed by the court system. But it’s obviously going to cause ultimately the breakup of relationships.
Brad: Winter time. People can’t be outside. People might be drinking more. And that probably heightens spousal abuse. Not that it causes it. There’s psychological issues that come into play with that and people’s responses. But it’s going to cause divorce.
Geoff: Okay. And what are some other ones then?
Brad: Infidelity and trust issues.
Geoff: No way!
Brad: Cheating. We just had a podcast the other week about cheating. Cheating is not grounds for modification and custody or a ruling about custody or a ruling about maintenance. But absolutely, and it goes without saying, it’s going to cause divorces. And trust issues. The trust issues that come after that.
Geoff: Trust is major. Yeah. Well both of those, obviously. I guess I just don’t understand what happened. Because I remember back in the day, you know, my parents, grandparents or whatever. It was so important to stay married as long as you could and never even think about leaving them or whatever. And now it’s just like the
vows or whatever don’t mean anything anymore. Or trust. It’s hard to trust anybody these days.
Brad: There’s a lot of infidelity. Absolutely.
Geoff: I think at least a dozen of my friends of my age have married, divorced and remarried at least once already.
Brad: Because of that issue?
Geoff: Well yeah. Well in general, any of them I guess. But yeah that’s one of them, yeah.
Brad: Yeah. Well that certainly is going to contribute to divorce. And then lastly we’ve got here, we’re taking this from this article on Global Post. Loss of interest and communication issues. Loss of interest, I think that’s kind of lame. If you love someone. If you really love someone, what does it mean to lose interest in them? Now communication or loss of interest because of abuse or loss of interest because of infidelity, that’s different. But I think that comes from those other issues. But communication issues, you’ve got to be able to communicate. Whether it’s finances or children or sex or whatever it is. You’ve got to be able to talk about those things.
Geoff: I think the main thing. The main problem out of all five of those is the communication. Because that contributes to every single one of those. I mean if you could sit down and talk things out correctly. You won’t have money problems. You won’t, hopefully if you can say it calmly and be able to talk to the counselor or without a counselor, you shouldn’t have to go all the way as far as using spousal abuse. And if you’re, you know… I’m just saying! Like I think if you…
Brad: I agree Geoff. Hopefully you don’t have to use spousal abuse. As long as you’re going to a counselor. Absolutely.
Geoff: No but communication…
Brad: There’s multiple ways of saying that.
Geoff: Proper communication, I don’t think you’ll lose love for anybody either. I just feel like if you can talk and be able to talk to them as your best friend you’re never going to want to lose that. Therefore keeping it going.
Brad: Yeah. I mean I think if people really love each other they’re not going to lose interest in them. I think other factors may cause a loss of interest such as if someone is beating you all the time or someone is being unfaithful to you all time. Why are you going to… If you have any sense of self-esteem whatsoever, why are you going to continue wanting to be with them?
Geoff: Well I kind of feel the same way about the infidelity part because that to me is mental abuse. Because that really… I know people right now that are going through something and this person really cares about the other person and she doesn’t want to leave. And it’s been like five, six times already that this person has had an affair on her and it’s crazy.
Brad: That’s unfortunate.
Brad: That’s unfortunate.
Geoff: But she really loves him and she love family she has so she’s going to stick it out. I hope for the best. Hopefully he realizes what he’s got.
Brad: So all this said, happy Valentine’s Day. And we’ve been a little tongue in cheek here today. But I guess the point is, is in relationships focus on… So you don’t have to go through the pain of divorce. I mean, the pain of divorce… Going through a divorce and things leading up to a divorce are devastating for people. Both, sometimes leading up to the divorce and once people get to the point of divorce, they’re kind of over it. But at some point it’s going to be devastating for people. And hopefully this Valentine’s Day season can be a time of joy for people if it’s celebrating a romantic relationship or friendships.
Geoff: Do you have any advice on what to give somebody?
Geoff: No? You don’t give advice for that?
Brad: Don’t give them a divorce complaint.
Geoff: Well I didn’t know if you had a special chocolate you get that just woos over the ladies.
Brad: Chocolate covered pretzels, man. But I don’t think that’s the first thing on a woman’s list. Chocolate covered pretzels with me because they’re pretty good.
Geoff: All right. Well now you know if you didn’t know already, some things that will ruin your relationship or your marriage. Addiction, spousal abuse and conflict, financial stress, infidelity and trust issues, loss of interest which is not agreed by attorney Brad Tengler, and communication issues.
Geoff: I like it. I learned a lot. I mean, it makes all valid points. Okay Brad, if somebody would like to contact you for representation from your law firm, how would you do that?
Brad: Well, we’re located in Rockford, Illinois. Our phone number is 815-997-5200. And if someone is going through a divorce or is considering it, we would be glad to talk with them about that.
Brad: Thanks, Geoff.
Geoff: Yeah, no problem. Thank you.