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Legal Experts: Divorce Inquiries Spike At Valentine's Day

By Christy Strawser
(CBS Detroit) Valentine's Day means flowers, candy, candlelight and romantic meals -- at least for some people.

For others it means divorce.

Online legal services marketplace Avvo told CBS Detroit they experienced a 26 percent increase in divorce-related searches for legal advice and attorneys in the week leading up to Valentine's Day compared to the previous week.

And that's the good news.

On average over the last five years, they see a 30 percent increase in people seeking divorce-related legal advice on Avvo after the holidays and before Valentine's Day.

The numbers don't give us the rationale: Perhaps it's the knowledge on the most rosy of holidays that the romance is gone. Maybe this isn't the person you want to spend a romantic day with.

Or maybe it's more practical, the winter blues, the post-holiday crash or pre-summer preparation.

Whatever the cause, Valentine's Day is a flash point for people thinking about divorce.

"It's a culmination of a number of different holidays that go across the board, going back from Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Year's, and you've got even possibly Super Bowl, by the time you get to Valentine's Day it's the last straw," said Jon Midtgard, co-owner of the metro Detroit ADAM office, divorce attorneys for men.

Overall, he says divorce usually comes down to the nuts and bolts of household finances.

"(It's usually) financial issues, which at their base have to do with not being on the same page about the things you value," Midtgard said.

There's even more bad news for people who try to capitalize on the most romantic day of the year by making it their wedding day.

A study of one million couples found that by their fifth anniversary, 11 percent of Valentine's Day marriages and 10 percent of special number date marriages had ended in divorce. This compared to 8 percent in ordinary date marriages.

That's right, marriages started on Valentine's Day tend to end badly more often that marriages started on other days.

What's the lesson here? Keep your head down on Valentine's Day, or maybe this: Use it an opportunity for re-connection.

"Sometimes this time of year a we see people reconcile as well,"Midtgard said. "It's a time to remind you of how you became a couple in the first place. Someone can do a right gesture, to make someone feel appreciated, and they reconcile.

"They realize there's something that can be preserved there."

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