LegalMatch.com, the nation's premier online legal matching company, reports that The Valentine's Effect, an abnormal rise in the number of divorce cases, is again expected in the days surrounding Valentine's Day. LegalMatch, which matches tens of thousands of clients to lawyers per month across the US, says the number of people seeking divorce attorneys, as well as attorneys to help with annulments and prenuptial agreements, increases significantly around Valentine's Day. According to Ken LaMance, associate general counsel for LegalMatch, "Over the last four years we have seen an average increase of 31% (compared to all other weeks) in divorce, annulments and prenuptial cases in the week prior to and directly after Valentine's Day."
Across the US, population density seems to play a role in the Valentine's Effect. Philadelphia divorce attorneys saw the biggest rise in 2006 with a nearly 50% increase in new cases in the weeks around Valentine's Day. Texas, Dallas and Fort Worth saw a rise of 44% and 32%, respectively. The San Francisco Bay Area also saw a 27% increase in divorce, annulment and prenuptial cases and Atlanta saw the smallest spike of all metro areas, at 20%. Interesting, however, is LegalMatch data that suggests that it's the small towns across America that seem immune to the Valentine's Effect.
LegalMatch first noticed this phenomenon in 2006, at which time they researched their cases to see if it was just a one-year anomaly. To their surprise, company records indicated that this spike in cases was indeed visible in each of the three years prior. This is not that surprising to attorney Ken LaMance. LaMance says, "The added stress of a holiday where you are all but required to express your love with chocolates, flowers and even jewels, especially so soon after the holidays, can make people anxious and questioning." "It may have something to do with the idealized images of love they see all over the media," continues, LaMance. "As more and more people turn to the Internet when looking for a lawyer, we expect to sift through our close to a million legal cases to uncover more of these statistical trends,"