Marriage proposals are big on Valentine's day. You may know some people who got engaged on Valentine's. I know that I myself have had friends who got engaged on Valentine's day. Valentine's day is a beautiful holiday (whether Hallmark manufactured or not) where couples all across the United States, even the World, come together and remember why they love eachother and reaffirm that love... so why do I want to talk about Divorce?
It is not because I am a skeptic, in fact I consider myself a romantic in the classic sense. It is because as a lawyer in Las Vegas who has single friends and watches the news, I see that as big a trend that marriage proposals are on Valentines day, so there also seems to be a trend for break ups and divorce leading up to Valentine's day.
Some recent examples of famous people: Charlie Sheen just finalized his divorce with Brooke Mueller. Ashlee Simpson announces that she wants a divorce from her husband Pete Wentz... just in time for Valentine's day.
Even the New York Post recently did an article on a recent study that shows an increase of 40% in divorce filings around Valentine's day. As a lawyer, I myself have noticed an increase in clients requesting divorces over the past few weeks. In fact, as I write this article I am currently waiting for yet another client who has questions regarding divorce in Nevada... but, I will get back to that in a minute.
The New York post article states that the increase in divorce filings can be attributed to two types of people:
(1) The "New Years Resolution" people who have decided that their resolution for the year is to get out of a bad relationship; or
(2) The "waiting to Exhalers" who are the people who are in a bad relationship and are waiting to see how their significant others handle Valentines Day before either pulling the plug on the relationship or continuing.
I would like to add yet another group that I have seen. The "What's our financial situation?" group. Lately, I have had a slew of clients who came in requesting a divorce and their chief complaint being that their significant other was lazy, out of work, and unable to contribute financially in these hard economic times.
My question here is "Is there a solution to this problem?"
Every couple is different and even small problems can escalate. In all the cases (both Contested and Uncontested) for Divorce that I have seen, many a time it seems the true reason for this break up is a break down in communication. Early on in my career a much wiser lawyer than me who practiced exclusively in Divorce law told me that his advice to any couple who came an saw him was to get a marriage counselor. Get a marriage counselor even if you are happy and newly wed. A marriage counselor will help you to keep open those lines of communication and even give an outside perspective to any arguments that may unfold.
Now Nevada (Las Vegas) in particular has a spike in divorces around this time. Why is that? Perhaps you think immediately because of the infamous Las Vegas stigma that many people come to Vegas, get drunk, and get married in their inebriated state.
Not totally true. Though this has happened in the past, Nevada laws have gotten stricter in allowing marriages of this nature. Drive through chapels now close down after a certain time of night so those late night partiers cannot get in a last minute "wedding" before the sun comes up.
The reasons, I believe, that Nevada is so popular in divorce in general, let alone this time of year, is due to the fact that Nevada allows Uncontested Divorces. An Uncontested Divorce is when both husband and wife agree totally and absolutely on how they want to split their assets, debt and child custody (if the have children). If this is the case, all they need to do is fill out the proper paper work together, and usually within thirty days of filing the Uncontested Divorce, they receive an official Divorce Decree. This quick and easy process appeals to so many, especially in this financially difficult climate.
However, the romantic side of me wishes to leave you with this thought. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, try and re-open the lines of communication and really try to put yourself in the other's shoes. It is never too late, right?
*As always please consult an Attorney if you have any more questions regarding the Divorce proces