Massachusetts and North Carolina compete for research dollars and Ph.D's, but the Tar Heel state may be tops in one category - marital breakups in January.
In Raleigh and Charlotte, a vow to exit a marriage is so common a New Year's resolution that some Carolina divorce lawyers claim to get little down-time in January, while in the Hub, sacking a spouse seems less confined to a single season, a sampling of attorneys suggested.
According to the Rosen Law Firm of North Carolina, January is an all-out sprint, with its divorce lawyers busier than keg-tappers at Oktoberfest.
Reluctant to spoil Christmas for the children, many people hesitate to initiate divorce proceedings during the holidays, resulting in pent-up January demand, firm president Lee Rosen said.
In his experience, divorce inquiries also increase after hurricanes; when couples are cooped up, incompatibilities achieve critical mass, something that happens during the holidays as well.
"Too much family time isn't always a good thing," said Rosen, adding that some spouses interpret a disappointing holiday as a sign of a dysfunctional marriage.
Meanwhile, in Boston, Elaine Epstein, a partner at the law firm of Todd & Weld LLP, reports regularly seeing a January flurry of divorce inquiries, but some other local legal specialists offered different takes.
John Adams Fiske, a partner of Healy, Fiske & Richmond in Cambridge and a co-chair of the Family Law section of the Boston Bar Association, said it's hard to predict the ebb and flow of the divorce business.
He remembers one August when the status of Bay State romance was so blissful that he was briefly becalmed, causing his wife to fret about the prospects of an impoverished retirement.
At Probate and Family Court in Middlesex County, register John Buonomo said the end of the school year and the end of the summer are busy times for divorce filings.
While he doesn't necessarily disagree with Rosen's claims of busy Januarys, Boston lawyer Jerry Nissenbaum pointed out that some locals so sicken of their spouses that they initiate a divorce before a holiday - that way, they can celebrate solo.
Recalling a woman who booted a wayward husband just before Dec. 25, Nissenbaum noted, "That wife said that was her best Christmas ever!"
(By Chris Reidy, Globe staff)