Can Valentine’s day be the tipping point for your marriage? Forbes Magazine did an article in 2008 called the “Valentine Effect.” The article tried to make a correlation between Valentine’s Day and the number of people who file divorces at or around Valentine’s. The author interviewed lawyers across the country who each had a theory about why the numbers of divorces seem to spike around Valentine’s Day.
One theory is that Valentine’s Day makes people think about love and happiness and it highlights the fact that they have no love or happiness in their marriage, so more people tend to go in to their attorneys seeking counsel on how to end the marriage. Another theory is that Valentine’s Day simply stresses people to a divorce. They just get tired of trying to keep the marriage patched together. One lawyer intimated that the Valentine’s divorce is the best present a married man could give to his mistress…
I was reading on this one blog post called “Valentine’s Day in Court” which I think you can find here: The part that struck me the most was this part:
“In the midst of all this dolor and darkness there was was one woman litigant wearing a pink smock covered in small hearts and dark pink pants. I don’t know whether this was a cruel ironic joke or the lady just liked hearts. The smock was the style worn by the women in a doctor’s or dentist’s office. Her pants had that “uniform” look. Her boss must have thought it would be cute for the girls to wear pink tops with intertwined hearts and ribbons for the holiday. I’m sure he didn’t realize that this particular employee would be wearing that smock as she angrily stalked to the front of the court to stand beside her attorney. How incongruous! This woman in the pink heart smock, clearly agitated, talking in her lawyer’s ear as he tried to talk to the judge. I have no idea what the issue was. I couldn’t listen. The whole scene was just too heartbreaking.”
I liked the way the author of that post said that the lawyers don’t mind being in court on Valentine’s Day. As if lawyers are somehow inhuman, or cease to be people just by virtue of being lawyers. I mean, I can’t speak for any other lawyer, obviously, but I think we are like the rest of the population. Some of us are nice, and some of us are not. Some of us are sensitive and some of us are not. Some of us actually care about our clients and get our hearts broken like the rest of the population. Some of us actually feel emotional empathy for our clients –especially the nice ones. (Believe it or not, not all clients are nice, sweet and cuddly. It is often the lawyer who is trying to instill some compassion in the heart of certain clients who want a blood bath at any cost.)
But. Whatever. There is a lot of cynicism not just about lawyers, but also about Valentine’s Day. Or maybe the cynicism is about marriage itself. I don’t know. In 2008, West Virginia Radio Station WKLC-FM gave away a “free divorce” as a Valentine’s Day publicity stunt. Here is the actual contest offer as it appeared on the Station’s website:
WIN a free Divorce Courtesy of ROCK 105 with Exclusive attorney services from Responsible Attorney Rusty Webb (good for 10 free hours of legal services) court costs / filing fees not included, Certain restrictions Apply. Be sure to complete the form below in its entirety, incomplete entries will not be considered. -Good Luck, and Happy Valentine’s Day from ROCK 105, your “I Hate Valentine’s Day” station!
Similarly, in 2009, in Florida, the Hunter Law Group sponsored Bubba the Love Sponge Valentine’s Day divorce Contest. But there was a catch. The divorce had to be “uncontested.”
But it is not all gloom, doom, depression and cynicism. CNN did a piece in 2009, Tax Talk May Be Best Valentine’s Day Gift for Newlyweds, Exes Falling in or Out of Love in 2008 Could Mean Savings at Tax Time. And the gist of it, really, was that, at least in 2009, taxpayers who were married or divorced in 2008 were eligible for additional recovery rebate credit money, depending on their income level and economic stimulus payment they received. “An estimated 1 in 5 — or 25 million taxpayers — may have a second chance for rebate money from last year’s economic stimulus plan”, according to The Tax Institute at H&R Block (NYSE: HRB).
In San Francisco, in 2009, a bunch of divorcees were embracing their newly divorced status by celebrating at the Bubble Lounge. The organizer, a woman named Kim, described herself as: “I’ll be the divorced Black Woman with the Big Smile.”
Look, what can I say? Sometimes, you just fall out of love. And it can happen at any time. Even on Valentine’s Day. Wonder what the trends are for Valentine’s 2010?
Originally published feb 12, 2009 as The Valentine’s Day Divorce: When you simply fall out of love