Maybe it's the stress of the holiday season. Maybe it's out of respect for the family. Maybe it's because it's the natural time to make a fresh start. Whatever the reason happens to be January turns cold in Louisiana not only outside but inside relationships as well.

January is the leading month for divorce across the state and across the nation. New Orleans marriage and family therapist Dr. Eileen Palace says that the expectations of the holiday season do have a significant impact on the increase in divorce for the first month of a brand new year.

December tends to be very stressful, and people wait until they’re after the holidays so they don’t disappoint the children and family members. They put on a good front in December, and then they separate in January.

Often the added activities around Christmas and New Year's mean less sleep. That can lead to cranky dispositions and when you throw a little alcohol on that fire. Things can escalate quickly. Palace suggests in her comments to the Louisiana Radio Network that often the disappointment of the holiday season is merely the final straw for a relationship that may have been struggling for years.

They haven’t gotten to it until it’s kind of in their face right at this time of year when they’re spending more time together and they have other family (members) there that are reminding them. So it brings up old issues.

Perhaps you've reached a breaking point with your spouse. Palace suggests that now that the holiday season has passed you might take a step back and consider visiting a qualified counselor. It could be the first step in strengthening your relationship or it might be nice to have an outside opinion on why the union is simply not working. Regardless, it's better to have cooler heads make these life changing decisions.