CHICAGO – Known in the legal circles for years, January is unofficially dubbed “Divorce Month” due to a spike in divorce filings in the New Year, according to Illinois Legal Aid Online.

The agency says lawyers cite an increase in online searches about “How to file for divorce?” or “How to get a divorce?” throughout the month.

Teri Ross, Executive Director of Illinois Legal Aid Online says many people who may be considering divorce stay married through the end of the year because they don’t want to put their children or spouse through the trauma of a divorce during the holidays.

Regardless of when it occurs, divorce is rarely a happy occasion, since it takes an emotional and economic toll. However, the experience can be less stressful with a well-thought-out plan.

Ross says there are a lot of basic issues people don’t know about divorce but should consider, offering these suggestions for couples:

  • Find common ground – the more you and your spouse can agree on, the faster and cheaper your divorce will be
  • Property and debts you and your spouse acquired during marriage are divided
  • If you or your spouse has a pension, see a lawyer for help
  • If you have kids, remember the best interest of the child standard

Ross talks about “Divorce Month” with WGN News Now in the video above. She discusses two types of divorce, how to file, what you need to know about custody and spousal support issues, how divorce has changed in the digital age, and much more.

Illinois Legal Aid Online is the state’s largest non-profit online legal aid resource. They provide the public with user-friendly legal information in 24 areas of law, including information about legal rights and responsibilities, self-help instructions, interactive court forms, multimedia public education classes, and referrals to free and low-cost legal services.