FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Many lawyers refer to New Year's Day as National Divorce Day because of the rise in couples calling it quits.

What You Need To Know

  • More couples file for divorce in January than any other month, lawyers say
  • Financial experts say it’s important for couples considering divorce to inventory their assets, gather paperwork and close joint accounts
  • North Carolina's divorce rate in 2021 was 3.2 per 1,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Lawyers say they see more couples filing for divorce this month than any other month.

“National Divorce Day typically lands on the first Monday of the new year, a time when family lawyers see a higher volume of couples seeking a split," said Alan Porter, a Fayetteville financial adviser with Strategic Wealth Strategies. "The thought is that couples’ problems come to a head following the busy holiday season."

Porter says couples may wait until after the holidays to keep a sense of normalcy for their children and families.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says North Carolina’s divorce rate in 2021 was at 3.2 per 1,000 people.

That’s higher than the national average of 2.5 per 1,000 people.

Porter says that a marital split can take a toll on your finances but that there are ways to protect your assets.

  • Take a complete inventory of all your assets as a couple and gather the necessary paperwork. This includes 401(k)s, IRAs, income tax returns, and bank and credit card statements
  • Close joint accounts and remove your ex from credit cards and bank statements 
  • You may eventually change names on your will, trust and power of attorney, but you might need to wait to do this until the divorce is finalized

Porter says retirement and Social Security should not be overlooked, especially if one spouse is financially dependent on the other. 

“In some cases, a judge may order an ex-spouse to transfer money from their retirement account to the other person. In the case of Social Security, there are several options if you were married for more than 10 years and you don’t remarry,” Porter said.

Porter says if the divorce is not an amicable split, you should protect yourself legally. Experts recommend hiring a lawyer who specializes in divorce.

Porter says during the process of filing for divorce, couples should create a strategy, change spending habits and build an emergency fund.