Valentine’s Day and Divorce: When 50 Shades of Grey Turns to 50 Shades of Go Away

Avvo, Inc., an online legal directory and Q&A forum, says that requests for information about divorce surge 40 percent in the weeks approaching Valentine’s Day and 67 percent of those seeking information are women. The company calls this surge the “Valentine’s Effect,” since it sees the spike occur consistently year after year.

This comes as no surprise to Connatser Family Law Attorney Aubrey Connatser, who says her phone rings off the hook after Valentine’s Day. “Except for the day after Christmas, Valentine’s Day is the busiest day of the year for meeting requests from prospective clients at our firm.”

So what gives? What is it about Valentine’s Day that pushes people, primarily women, to call a divorce attorney?

Romantic Holidays Come with High Expectations

Aubrey finds “one of the reasons divorce often happens after Valentine’s Day is because it’s one of those high expectation holidays. For many women, if (once again) she doesn’t get a nice gift from her husband or her spouse doesn’t plan an evening that is romantic or special enough for her – she may decide that he’s not the type of person she wants to be married to anymore.”

Valentine’s Day can be a tipping point for many people who have just experienced a disappointing holiday season too. “Coming on the heels of Christmas, another holiday that may have come with unfulfilled expectations, Valentine’s Day may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. If the holiday season was a romantic disappointment, a less than romantic Valentine’s Day could seal the deal,” Aubrey says.

Cheaters May Unwittingly Show Their Cards on Valentine’s Day

Gift-giving holidays like Valentine’s Day are a prime time for cheaters to get caught with their proverbial pants down. Sure, there is the classic lipstick on the collar scenario, but most people get caught cheating because the gifts they send to or receive from their lovers are discovered, or they get caught being somewhere they shouldn’t be.

According to Aubrey, “A question I often ask during a deposition, especially if it’s close to Valentine’s Day, is ‘Who all did you send flowers to for Valentines’ Day?’ I have deposed men where they tell me they sent flowers to ‘my mother, my wife’s mother, my wife, my daughter … and then four other women.’ Needless to say, that admission doesn’t work in the man’s favor.”

Oops! The Florist Sent My Wife My Girlfriend’s Flowers

Florists can get their clients into trouble by mixing up orders, too. As a leading Dallas divorce lawyer, Aubrey has seen her share of instances where the wife gets the girlfriend’s flowers and the girlfriend gets the wife’s flowers.

“Consequently, the man’s plan for a romantic Valentine’s Day with either the wife or girlfriend ends up out the window, and she’s calling divorce lawyers the next day. From a discovery perspective, I have subpoenaed many florists to find out who my client’s spouse has been sending flowers to,” says Aubrey.

Marriages Fail When Spouses Stop Carving Out Time for Romance

When a spouse begins spending less time at home and/or in the bedroom, marriage troubles often arise. This is especially true for spouses who stop making time for their mate on special holidays, such as Valentine’s Day. “If you regularly plan business trips or work late on romantic holidays, be careful. That can raise major red flags for someone on the cusp of filing for divorce,” Aubrey says.

If you don’t want your marriage to fall victim to the “Valentine’s Effect”, take stock of your relationship and make a consistent effort to spend quality time together. Otherwise, you may find yourself as the responding party in a divorce suit.

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