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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Divorce Time: January sees spike in divorces nationwide

DES MOINES — Do you know what today is? It’s the first Monday after the holidays which means you’re probably back into your usual routine. Believe i...

DES MOINES — Do you know what today is? It’s the first Monday after the holidays which means you’re probably back into your usual routine.

Believe it or not, Monday kicks off the busiest time of year for couples to call it quits.

The face of divorce is changing including who is splitting up and how they’re doing it.

We celebrate marriages, we celebrate new opportunities, but now some people are celebrating divorce.

Search Google and you’ll get hits on everything from how to throw a divorce party to the perfect drinks to serve.

Christine Gallagher has written a divorce handbook.

“What we are not doing ever is celebrating the end of the marriage, but what we are doing is celebrating the end of what has been a very difficult and painful time,” Christine said.

Starting a new chapter peaks in January right after the holiday season.

USA Today reports the “divorce” topic increased on Google during the second week of January.

On Pinterest, searches for “divorce party” jumped about 21 percent from December to January in 2019.

But why the month of January, right after the holidays?

“We call it Black Monday and typically it’s the Monday after the holidays. The phone just rings off the hook because what happens is people have gone through the holidays and they say ok I’ve made it through the holidays,” Des Moines Attorney Kim Baer said.

Baer said it’s not just young couples looking to go their separate ways.

Now, she’s just as likely to see parents or even grandparents walk through her doors.

“With regards to divorces, we talked about gray hair divorces, that particular age group the divorce rate has gone up by three times in the last three years. I mean it’s just skyrocketed,” Baer said.

These so-called gray divorces are up nationwide.

So why the increase?

“I think once you reach 50-55 you’ve raised your children so you’re thinking alright there’s not a reason to stay with this person unless I want to. Obviously people who are 50-55 tend to be financially independent or close to it so they don’t necessarily have to stay married. I also think it’s less taboo to get divorced these days so I think that plays a part in it,” Baer said.

Baer said she has helped clients as old as 90 divorce.

But whether you’re 20, 90 or somewhere in between, the strategy behind a smart divorce remains the same..

“So the best advice I would give is number one figure out what your finances are and number two talk to a lawyer,” Baer said.

She also said while marriages are down and divorces are up, she still sees plenty of reason to be optimistic.

“Even as a divorce lawyer I still believe in love and I still believe in marriage. But yes we have plenty of work here at the office,” Baer said.

She also talked about how the law is changing in Iowa.

Previously, if one spouse wanted to try counseling before divorce but the other spouse did not, the court had to order counseling before the divorce could happen.

Now, the court can order counseling if one spouse wants it, but it’s not a requirement. This means it’s easier now to get a divorce without your spouse’s consent.