The wrapping paper is gone, along with the holiday lights, bows and ornaments. For many in Redding, the end of the holiday season means it is time to move on an even bigger challenge: filing for divorce.
January is often referred to as “divorce month” because filings typically surge by about a third after the holidays. For many, a new year means a new start in life.
Economist Misty Heggeness with the U.S. Census Bureau says divorce laws that have made it “easier and quicker” to end a marriage often have “unexpected positive ripple effects.”
Here in California, where all divorces are “no fault,” women often have more “economic clout” in marriage and divorce because they bring income and control of income into the relationship. Heggeness said that in states with no-fault divorce, it is 8 percent more likely that both spouses work full-time outside of the home and it is 5 percent more likely that the woman is in the labor force.
She said that it is also statistically true that in states that allow one spouse to file unilaterally for divorce, there is an approximate 30 percent decrease in domestic violence “committed by and against both men and women.” Research shows that the ability to file unilaterally for divorce gives an abused spouse an escape hatch that can have the effect of reducing spousal abuse.
“Access to divorce for parents” also has a statistically positive effect on children’s educations, she says.
Heggeness also says divorce rates are declining in the U.S. except in one key demographic: Americans over age 65. People in that age bracket are twice as likely to obtain a so-called “gray divorce” than they are to marry, the economist said.
No matter your age, divorce is not easy. For many, the first important step after making the decision to split is to sit down with a Shasta County attorney experienced in family law matters including child custody, property distribution, spousal support, appeals and more.